Jeremy Howe was taken from the field after a gruesome mid-air collision. Plus, an important Cat was also subbed out earlier in what has been a thrilling contest.
Collingwood looks set to be without high-flying defender Jeremy Howe for months after he snapped his forearm in a sickening mid-air collision during his side’s season-opener against Geelong.
Howe collided with Cats small forward Tyson Stengle in the opening minutes of the third quarter and was visibly distressed as he was helped from the field on a stretcher before being taken by ambulance to hospital for scans.
Stengle had been running back with the flight of the ball when Howe leapt high over the top of him to spoil the ball, before landing heavily on his left arm and snapping it in two.
Broadcasters chose not to show replays of the collision given how graphic the injury was.
“It’s a fracture in the arm obviously,” Collingwood football boss Graham Wright said at three-quarter time.
“So he will go off and have scans now and obviously be out for a little while but really disappointing for him.
“We hope he’s OK like everyone else at the moment.”
Stengle was sore but walked himself from the ground, before later returning to play out the game.
The injury is a huge blow for the Magpies as they push to improve on a preliminary final exit last year.
Howe missed only one game last season to finish fourth in the club’s best and fairest count.
He rated above average among key defenders for disposals, intercepts and intercept marks last season as well as elite for metres gained.
Geelong was not spared from what was an injury-riddled match, with vice-captain Tom Stewart lasting just 21 minutes before being subbed out with a right knee injury.
Stewart slipped on the MCG turf and failed a fitness test at quarter-time after having the knee strapped.
Fellow Cats key defender Sam De Koning also hurt his right knee after slipping over while running backwards into space in the second quarter.
De Koning spent more than 20 minutes on the bench and also had his right knee strapped before taking his place back on the field to start the third quarter.
Stengle and Tom Hawkins also limped from the field in the first half after slipping over, bringing the condition of the MCG turf into question.
Some 10,000 square metres of new turf — roughly half of the ground — was replaced in the past two weeks after being damaged by two Ed Sheeran concerts earlier this month.
MCC chief executive Stuart Fox said on Tuesday that the surface was looking “absolutely magnificent” and he was “very, very happy” with it.
Originally published as AFL Geelong v Collingwood: Jeremy Howe suffers sickening injury from mid-air collision, Tom Stewart subbed out