Yarrawonga’s Brady Pritchard has probably played his last game for the season after fracturing his cheekbone against Lavington.
The small defender was involved in the biggest collision of the finals when he and the Panthers’ Luke Garland charged courageously at the ball late in the third quarter.
Pritchard spent some time on all fours before he was helped off.
“I’ve had a couple of scans and it looks like there’s a couple of fractures in my cheekbone and there could be some damage to my jaw as well,” he said.
The pacy Pritchard broke his jaw at under 16 level and while it’s also on the left-hand side, it’s unrelated as his current injury is higher.
“I think it was a head clash, I didn’t see him coming the other way,” he said.
“I had a look at the vision this morning (Monday) and it looked like it was a clash of heads.”
Pritchard will visit a surgeon in Albury on Wednesday.
Pritchard is one of a select band of players to have debuted as a 15-year-old, along with North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell (Wodonga).
It’s been a difficult year for the 20-year-old, who played two reserves games in the second half of the year after battling a back complaint.
He had a couple of strong moments in the win over Lavington and certainly played his role in the 45-point caning.
Pritchard looks like being the only casuality from the game.
Veteran Xavier Leslie was forced from the ground late in the final term.
“It was just in between the ribs, I felt a bit crook after an unexpected knock,” he said.
“I just went off for 10 to 15 minutes to settle down and we were seven or eight goals up.
“It’s a little bit tender, but it’s nothing too serious, so I will be right to play.”
Leslie, who played his 250th game against Wangaratta Rivers in late June, has been in strong form over the past six weeks.
He had 31 touches against the Panthers, including a masterly piece of work late in the first quarter.
Leslie weaved his way out of traffic and delivered a pinpoints pass to Nick Lawless.
Lawless has suddenly become the most dangerous player in the Pigeons’ forward line.
He’s kicked 15 goals in the past four games, starting with a bag of five against Lavington in round 17.
Known as the Pigeons most unique character, Lawless labelled his season “terrible” prior to the penultimate round.
He blamed fitness and a lack of commitment.
However, he now resembles one of those players who looks capable of marking everything that comes his way.
Wangaratta will need to shut him down as it looks to break a grand final drought.