Vardy to miss up to six weeks

07 March 2018 04:38:49 EST

Nathan Vardy will miss at least the next month with an abductor tear he suffered in a practice match for West Coast.

The Eagles big man has had scans that showed his injury, sustained in a ruck contest against Fremantle, is worse than expected and the 26-year-old could miss up to six weeks, according to general manager of football Craig Vozzo.

"We're thinking it's probably a month to six-week injury, but we're not really going to know until he starts healing and then we start taking him through each phase of the recovery process," added Vozzo.

"The positive thing is it's not a structural injury and he's suffered some pretty significant structural injuries over time. He's quite relieved in the sense that it's a setback but not a season-ending setback."

First-year Eagle Jarrod Brander tweaked his ankle against the Dockers and will miss Sunday's JLT Community Series clash against the same opposition.

But Vozzo said he was recovering well and his issue had been minor, so he should be available for the start of the season.

Vardy's setback leaves the Eagles' ruck division down on numbers, with star big man Nic Naitanui unlikely to face Fremantle and also in doubt for the 25th March season-opener against Sydney at Optus Stadium.

It will leave Scott Lycett, who played just one AFL game last year due to shoulder issues, as their go-to ruckman.

He's likely to be supported by 198cm forward-ruck Fraser McInnes, who's played only 11 games in six seasons at the club, in Sunday's clash at Joondalup.

West Coast are 11/5 to win their season-opener against Sydney, who are 19/50.

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