Star Tatura recruit Matt Shannon will have to wait to make an impact for his new club after a freak injury.
The onballer fractured his hand at home and could miss as many as six weeks with an injury coach Jamason Daniels said was unfortunate.
‘‘He was playing around with his brothers. It’s an unfortunate injury but you can’t help these things,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘We’ll just have to see how it heals, but he probably won’t be back before the interleague break or maybe the game before.’’
Shannon moved from Shepparton to the Bulldogs after missing last year’s grand final loss to Kyabram through injury.
Along with fellow recruits Brandyn Grenfell, Billy Cooper and Aubrey Coote, Shannon has helped build plenty of optimism in the young list and its chances of pushing into finals in 2018.
The coach said despite not having played at the club yet, Shannon’s absence would be felt.
‘‘Being one of our key recruits, he’s really brought a lot to the club,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘He’s been voted in our leadership group, which shows that he’s really impressed in pre-season.
‘‘The injury is unfortunate for him, and for us.’’
The Bulldogs have announced the leadership group, with Tom Miller to again captain the side.
Best-and-fairest winner Mitch Elliott and Brad Ryan will share the vice-captaincy, with Matt Ryan, Andrew Ciavarella and Shannon completing the six-man group.
‘‘It’s a pretty young leadership group, but they all really lead by example and drive standards on and off the field,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘There’s a lot of respect for them and some of them have been leaders for a fair few years now.
‘‘It’s great as a coach to have them to rely on when I need to.’’
The Bulldogs open the Goulburn Valley League campaign with a trip to Victoria Park to face the new and improved Echuca.
They will assume the role of villain in the Easter Saturday match, looking to spoil former Carlton player Andrew Walker’s homecoming party in his first match as coach.
Daniels said excitement levels were through the roof heading into the blockbuster.
‘‘You do all the work over pre-season and everyone is eagerly awaiting getting the season going,’’ he said.
‘‘You can guess and predict what’s going to happen, but until you get out there you’ve got no idea.
‘‘Echuca will be a quality outfit and we’re just looking forward to the challenge.’’