THE decorated playing career of Graham Fruean appears to be over after suffering a knee injury.
Fruean, 34, went down late in the final quarter against Rand-Walbundrie at Walbundrie on Saturday and was assisted from the ground by trainers.
Scans this week are almost certain to reveal Fruean has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
“It didn’t look good when he was trying to walk off,” Culcairn coach Chad Hamblin said.
“There didn’t look to be a lot in it and he sort of just got tackled as he got his kick away.
“His knee must have twisted the wrong way and as you know sometimes it doesn’t take much.”
Fruean announced his retirement at the end of the 2012 season but his retirement was short-lived as he played again the following season with the club struggling for numbers.
“It’s a cruel blow because Fruey is a legend of club and came out of retirement when we looked like being short on numbers last season,” Hamblin said.
“We were going to sit down with him during the week to talk about next year but unfortunately that looks like it’s not going to happen.”
Fruean’s career is littered with highlights, including an Azzi medal in 2008 and five runners-up in best and fairest counts.
The classy defender finally broke through for a richly deserved best and fairest in 2012.
Culcairn was able to match Rand-Walbundrie for the first half with Will Haines, Stewart Chapman and James Morris winning plenty of possessions.
But the Tigers went into another gear when challenged to boot 13 goals to one and bury the Lions in a second-half avalanche.
Eastlake recruits Mark Kimball, Tim Gray and Ben Maiden were all pivotal in the onslaught.
Hamblin labelled the third-placed Tigers as a genuine flag threat.
“They showed their quality after half-time and kicked nine goals in the premiership quarter to put the game beyond our reach,” Hamblin said.
“They are a definite premiership contender and those Eastlake recruits are quality players and will be hard to contain come September.”
The Tigers wore blue shorts and socks to help raise awareness for depression and mental health and support beyondblue.
In other matches, Brock-Burrum kicked six goals to one in the final quarter to overrrun Howlong by 35 points. Holbrook produced a spirited performance in front of a healthy crowd to celebrate the Brookers’ 2004 premiership reunion to eventually go down by 10 points against ladder leaders Osborne.
Henty enjoyed a 74-point win over Billabong Crows while Lockhart remains in finals contention after beating Walla by 39 points.