AFL 2023 injury news: Carlton debutants vs. Richmond, Pat Lipinski, Dion Prestia, Jayden Short

Carlton could name up to three debutants in the season opener against Richmond as the battle for spots at Ikon Park intensifies after a disappointing second training game.

Carlton is considering playing three first-players against Richmond in front of 90,000 MCG fans as the club’s reinvestment in the national draft looks set to pay off immediately.

The Blues most recently picked four national draft picks, including Ollie Hollands (pick 11), Lachie Cowan (pick 30), Jaxon Binns (pick 32), Harry Lemmey (pick 47) and then summer rookies Hudson Keefe and Alex Cincotta.

Wingman Hollands and defenders Cowan and Cincotta are all poised to take on Richmond in a clash the league hopes could eclipse the arch-rivals’ best Round 1 attendance of 90,151 in 2018.

Laufmaschine Hollands has shared outside responsibilities with ex-Fremantle veteran Blake Acres and left-footed Lochie O’Brien and is set to make a Round 1 debut.

O’Brien has been tested as a half-forward at times as Hollands, an elite runner at center as a junior, appears to have a long-term future on the wing.

But the surprise package was the impressive Cowan, a Tasmanian Carlton supporter who the Blues acquired after giving up a future runner-up in a live draft night trade.

The stalwart 187cm defender has always had an excellent right shoe and strong overhead coverage for his height.

In match simulation and again in the loss to Sydney, the 2022 Morrish medalist displayed a robust aggression that quickly endeared him to Carlton supporters.

Nic Newman is expected to return to the Carlton defense against Richmond and Mitch McGovern is fit and available after playing a VFL intra club this weekend when his partner gave birth to a son Hamish.

So Cowan will have to wait until next week to see if he gets ousted against Richmond.

Carlton Reserve Best and Fairest winner Cincotta is also hoping to retain his place in the squad, although the return of Patrick Cripps, Harry McKay and possibly Jack Martin will make him nervous.

Carlton had only hit three live picks in the last two drafts (pick 27 Jesse Motlop, pick 37 Corey Durdin, pick 41 Jack Carroll) and was determined to stock up on young kids again.

Regardless of how many debuts against Richmond, the Blues believe Cowan and Hollands add crucial elements to their roster build.

They have long sought to find a medium-height, toned, strong-physique defender who could complement Adam Saad and Sam Docherty, with 144-man Lachie Plowman, Brodie Kemp and Liam Stocker all filling that role in recent years.

The Blues will draw some heat for not trying to lure new bulldog Liam Jones back to the club following his Covid dramas but believed they had enough key defenders already.

The Blues added Lewis Young and Sam Durdin to their stocks, including Jacob Weitering, Caleb Marchbank and Mitch McGovern, so were happy to have him join the Dogs.

He was also offered a three-year deal, which they could not have achieved after securing Young as a 23-year-old in a move that will allow him to mature with their side.

In exchange for Jones, they secured the number 47 in free agency compensation and took 199cm SANFL forward Lemmey as a long-term prospect.

Lemmey has already garnered the admiration of McKay and Weitering for his early advances.


Rebekah Williams

Collingwood suffered serious injury damage before the start of his 2023 season as midfielder Patrick Lipinski missed the first half of the season following shoulder surgery.

In a major setback ahead of Collingwood’s season-opening blockbuster against Premier Geelong, the Magpies confirmed Lipinski would be sidelined until after the mid-season bye period after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder on Monday.

It’s the second shoulder surgery Lipinski has faced in the past six months, after the former Bulldog underwent post-season shoulder reconstruction last October.

The latest injury is to the same shoulder that had surgery last year.

Lipinski dislocated his left shoulder in the last quarter of the Magpies’ practice game against Hawthorn in Launceston last Thursday.

“We are disappointed in Pat, who has undergone his second shoulder surgery in six months,” said Graham Wright, Collingwood’s general manager of football.

“The expectation is that he will be out of the selection frame by the time he leaves mid-season.

“In the meantime, his well-being remains paramount and we will continue to support Pat as he begins his rehab.”

Lipinski was among the best in the Magpies’ final lineup of the season with 22 disposals and two goals before injuring his shoulder midway through last season.

He left the field, clutching his already heavily strapped shoulder after attempting to tackle Hawthorn’s Sam Butler.

After the game, the Magpies’ assistant manager Brendon Bolton said the club were keeping their fingers crossed that the injury was on the “lighter side”.

Lipinski played every game in his first season at Collingwood last year after transferring from the Western Bulldogs during the 2021 trading period.

The 24-year-old finished sixth in the Magpies’ Copeland Trophy count in his first year at the club.

The Magpies take on the Cats in their season opener on March 17th at the MCG.

Richmond remains hopeful that midfielder Dion Prestia still has a chance of being available for the opening round clash against Carlton, but the Tigers are also sweating on Jayden Short’s fitness ahead of the Round 1 blockbuster.

The Tigers revealed on Monday that scans had confirmed Prestia suffered a strained pectoral muscle in Saturday’s training game against Melbourne at Casey Fields.

However, the club said the Premiership star has a chance to take on the Blues in the season opener at the MCG on March 16.

Scans also revealed midfielder Short suffered a left calf strain against the Dems.

The Tigers said his availability will be assessed closer next Thursday in Round 1.

North Melbourne forward Cam Zurhaar, meanwhile, is under a cloud of injury after scans revealed he sustained a calf strain in Saturday’s pre-season game against the Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park.

Zurhaar reported what the club described as ‘consciousness’ in his left calf and did not return to the field after half-time.

“Cam will have light duties over the next week and will be closely monitored,” said North Melbourne general manager of football Todd Viney.

“It will be a matter of waiting to see how he reacts and then continuing with his rehab when his symptoms allow.”

North Ruckman Callum Coleman-Jones also suffered a partial tear of his left plantar fascia at the VFL on Saturday and will now be in a moonboot for a short time before beginning his rehab program.

Originally released as AFL 2023: Stay up to date with all the news in the Countdown to Round 1 AFL 2023 injury news: Carlton debutants vs. Richmond, Pat Lipinski, Dion Prestia, Jayden Short

Ryan Sederquist

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