The Western Bulldogs’ gripping three-point AFL win over North Melbourne has been soured by an injury to spearhead Travis Cloke, who was hospitalised after copping a heavy front-on bump from Jack Ziebell during the fourth quarter of the AFL’s first-ever Good Friday fame.
The 196cm forward went straight to the bench at Etihad Stadium in obvious distress amid fears he might have broken ribs.
Bulldogs ruckman Ruckman Tom Boyd was another causualty of a hard, spirited game, sitting out most of the game with delayed concussion symptoms after a first-quarter collision with Scott Thompson
The toll of wounded Bulldogs put a dampener on the gripping 12.17 (89) to 12.14 (86) victory.
Boyd will undergo concussion tests before next Saturday’s clash with Brisbane at the Gabba but the prognosis is less clear for Cloke.
“He’s gone off to hospital,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
“He may have (broken ribs). I can’t give you any more than they’re going to have a look but he’s in a bit of pain.
“I think (Boyd) will be alright. He seemed okay initially, then had some of that delayed concussion that you can’t detect straight away but he seemed coherent early and fine. Our doctors made the right call and took him out of the game.
“He will get through his week and have the cognitive test at the end of it all and the docs will make a determination at that point.”
The Bulldogs will be anxious for Boyd to return, given their ruck options have already been depleted.
First-choice tap man Jordan Roughead is up to six weeks off returning from a hamstring injury, forward Jack Redpath is recovering from a knee reconstruction and rookie Tim English is yet to debut.
Beveridge was pleased with the performance of Tom Campbell, who was left to battle in the ruck against North giants Todd Goldstein and Braydon Preuss after Boyd’s injury.
“We needed to ask a lot of him and he did a very, very good job as almost that sole ruck,” he said.
Should Boyd be unavailable next week, Campbell will face a tough challenge against Lions veteran Stefan Martin, who was among their best last week against St Kilda.