SEVERAL teams with fresh injury concerns in the last week of the NAB Challenge have thrown a spanner in the odds for Round 1 of the AFL season.
Two premiership stars and an up and coming draftee will miss at least the first fortnight of the AFL season after their injuries were confirmed after a brutal final weekend of NAB Challenge action.
Let’s take a look at the news from the final round of pre-season and the market ramifications.
Liam Shiels set to miss at least six weeks after breaking wrist
Hawthorn is set to be without another premiership star for the first portion of the season after midfielder Liam Shiels broke his wrist in the final NAB Challenge match of the pre-season.
Shiel’s arm was caught under the weight of his own body in the final quarter of Hawthorn’s big win over North Melbourne.
The Hawks were optimistic that Shiels had not suffered any structural damage, but scans confirmed the worst for the premiers.
Hawthorn football manager Chris Fagan said Shiels injury will be a big blow for the club.
“Scans yesterday revealed Liam has a hairline fracture in his right wrist,” Fagan said.
“What that effectively means is he’ll be out for somewhere between four to six weeks.
“Liam has had a really good pre-season to date and it’s a disappointing result at this stage of the year.”
The injury to Shiels will leave a hole in the Hawthorn midfield with the hard-working on-baller ranked first for tackles and third for clearances at the club in 2015.
Shiels’ injury further compounds Hawthorn’s injury woes after the reigning premiers confirmed just over a month ago that Jarryd Roughead will miss the first half of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
After beginning the season as outright premiership favourites with Sportsbet at $3.50, the reigning premiers have taken a hit with the bookmakers.
The Hawks are now $4.00 favourites to win the 2016 AFL Premiership, with their 2015 Grand Final opponents the West Coast Eagles on the next line of betting at $5.50 with William Hill.
Beams and Mathieson face stints on the sidelines
The Lions have been dealt a blow prior to the start of the season with star midfielder Dayne Beams ruled out indefinitely with knee tendinitis.
The 2010 Collingwood premiership star has struggled to fully recover after undergoing off-season knee surgery.
Football manager Matthew Francis said Beams will miss at least the opening fortnight of the season.
“Dayne can train at moderate levels but when he attempts to pick the intensity up it gets a bit of fluid in it,” Francis said.
“We’re taking a cautious approach with Dayne’s recovery.
“We want him back in the best possible condition.”
Brisbane coach Justin Leppistch conceded that the Lions could be without their 2015 best and fairest star for an extended period of time.
“Beamsy won’t play round one and I am not sure past that, it could be another couple of weeks, it could be a month,” Leppitsch conceded.
“It is a bit uncertain the end date, unfortunately.
“It is frustrating. It can be something that can be fixed quickly in a couple of weeks or a month, but he hasn’t had the training to play the first couple of games.
“You’ve got to put a month of conditioning on top once the long term injury is fixed, otherwise they will hurt something else.”
After starting the season alongside Tom Rockliff at $2.50 to amass the most Brownlow votes for the Lions, Beams is now out to $6.00 with Sportsbet to tally the most votes for Brisbane.
The injury news did not get any better for Leppitsch over the weekend, with confirmation that young Lion Rhys Mathieson will be sidelined for the start of the season with a broken cheekbone.
The 19-year-old Mathieson was taken from the field in the third quarter after Cameron’s hip and shoulder caught the young Lion high.
Brisbane later confirmed Mathieson’s cheekbone was broken in the collision.
Mathieson will consult a surgeon on Monday to determine whether or not he will need surgery.
Drafted at pick 39 in last year’s draft, Mathieson was one of the standout performers for the Lions throughout the pre-season and was considered a certain starter for round one.
Mathieson was considered a smoky for the Rising Star award after a strong NAB Challenge showing, but has since taken a hit with the bookies.
After the Lions confirmed the injury, Mathieson was wound out from $24.00 to $51.00 at Sportsbet to take out the 2016 Rising Star award.