Injured North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow is facing at least nine months on the sidelines after his AFL side battered Melbourne with ridiculous ease at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Swallow ruptured his achilles tendon during his side’s 122-point win and will have surgery to repair it on Sunday, the club confirmed on Saturday night.
The North skipper faces nine to 12 months out of action, and a return several games into the 2014 season would be a best-case scenario for the tricky injury.
“It’s very rare that the medical staff are so certain about an injury – they’re confident it’s a ruptured achilles tendon,” Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said before scans confirmed the worst.
“You’re looking at anything around the 12-month mark for that sort of injury.”
Swallow hobbled off early in the third term with his team already on the way to a comfortable 22.18 (150) to 4.4 (28) victory and the awful Dees to their 15th defeat in 17 matches this year.
North’s Ryan Bastinac and Aaron Black booted four goals each, onballers Brent Harvey and Ben Cunnington combined for 70 possessions between them, while ruckman Todd Goldstein was also outstanding.
After several competitive weeks and a win under interim coach Neil Craig, the Demons took a marked step backwards with a dire performance.
The Demons kicked the opening goal of the match, then proceeded to trek inside the opposition 50-metre arc just once more for the quarter.
North increased their lead to 25 points by halftime, before they flattened the pedal in the third – booting eight goals to one for a 68-point three-quarter-time advantage.
The Dees were held scoreless entirely in the final term.
North piled on 16 goals to one for the second half.
It was Melbourne’s 10th defeat this season by more than 10 goals.
Craig admitted the loss was a huge step backwards for the Demons, who seemed to be improving under his tutelage since he took over from sacked Mark Neeld.
“We came to play rather than to perform,” was Craig’s assessment.
“We’ve been pretty good in the last few weeks in terms of our competitive nature. Today we weren’t anywhere near it.
“It was a bad day for our club.”
North now have a 7-10 win-loss record.