ESSENDON captain Brendon Goddard has left the field with a groin injury early on Sunday against Geelong.
Goddard propped in the back pocket after taking possession uncontested, and was forced to kick despite the injury, turning the ball over to the Cats.
He immediately called for the attention of the Essendon medical staff, taking his time before making his own way to the bench where the injury was attended to.
Essendon announced at quarter-time Goddard would take no further part in the match.
The Bombers looked set to be two players down by the first break when Courtenay Dempsey left the field to have treatment on his hamstring problem, but the running defender returned to the field later in the term.
Goddard has been extremely durable in his four seasons at Essendon since crossing from St Kilda, playing 83 of a possible 86 games since the start of 2013.
His absence has robbed the Bombers of vital experience in their clash with the Cats, with the 31-year-old one of the Dons' most valuable senior players.