Eddie Betts’ Carlton homecoming party has been put on ice, with the veteran forward ruled out of the Blues’ AFL season-opener.
The 33-year-old will miss up to four weeks after injuring his calf at Carlton’s IKON Park headquarters on Saturday.
The training mishap means Betts will sit out the Blues’ round one clash against reigning premiers Richmond on Thursday night, which will be played in an empty MCG because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Given the nature of this injury, Eddie is likely to miss 3-4 weeks and will be unavailable for selection for the start of the upcoming AFL season,” Carlton football boss Brad Lloyd said.
Betts played 184 games for the Blues before heading to Adelaide in 2014, kicking 310 goals from 132 matches for the Crows. He rejoined Carlton in the off-season.
In AFLW action on Saturday Collingwood set up an exciting race for finals qualification with an impressive 29-point away win over Brisbane.
The Magpies dominated from the opening whistle, out-muscling their opponents with their strong run and carry to run out 5.13 (43) to 2.2 (14) victors.
With no spectators in attendance at Brisbane’s Hickey Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Collingwood were relentless against Lions, who have now slumped to their second straight loss of the season.
The win elevated the Pies into second spot in Conference B, equal with Melbourne and Carlton ahead of that pair’s Saturday night match.
While Collingwood coach Stephen Symonds wasn’t keen to talk finals just yet (“the old cliche, we’re taking it week by week”), he praised the “super” performance of his midfielders against one of the strongest teams in the league.
“We knew Brisbane would be really hard at the contest … we put the bit between the teeth and wanted to show we were up for it,” Symonds said.
The midfield was led by a best on ground performance from Brittany Bonnici (26 disposals), with excellent support from Brianna Davey (22 disposals) and Stephanie Chiocci (18 disposals, 6 marks).
Chloe Molloy was well held compared to her usual standards, with a second quarter goal her main cameo in the match.
After starting the season in hot form, the Lions lost their first match of the season last week by 18 points to Fremantle.
Coach Craig Starcevich bemoaned the “listless” performance from his team that, despite a strong third quarter, was well behind in general play for most of the game.
While noting the lack of home town atmosphere without any spectators, Starcevich said it was no excuse.
“We were shell-shocked by the opposition who were hungrier, and had more energy early in the game, and we played catch up after that,” Starcevich said.
The win is Collingwood’s third in a row against Brisbane, with the Lions’ last victory coming in the inaugural 2017 AFLW season.