Albury has suffered a big man blow but, more importantly, a crushing morale hit with popular ruckman Zach Bye to miss the season with a knee injury.
Bye's worst fears were confirmed after an MRI scan on Thursday afternoon.
"Unfortunately it's been confirmed he's done his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which is heartbreaking for Zach," shattered co-coach Luke Day said.
"He's one of the best (people), he's well loved by the playing group and everyone at the club.
"He puts his heart and soul into playing for Albury, that's what we love about him, he's just one of the most likeable characters around the club."
He puts his heart and soul into playing for Albury, that's what we love about him.- Albury's Luke Daly on his injured team-mate
But Bye won't be lost to the club.
"We still believe he can play a role for us off-field and we'll get him in to see a surgeon as soon as possible to get him on the road to recovery," Daly added.
While it's a gut-wrenching blow for the Tigers, they at least have another big man option.
Rising big man Ben Kelly has started in the ruck in the wins over Yarrawonga and Wangaratta Rovers, with his second showing highlighting his development.
However, the presence of Bye would have been an enormous advantage as the Tigers battle powerhouse big men in Dawson Simpson (Myrtleford) and Tim Hanna (Lavington).
Veteran Shaun Daly has also played as a pinch-hit ruckman in the past.
ALSO IN SPORT:
Albury hosts Corowa-Rutherglen on Saturday, which has potentailly the best ruckman in former VFL star Tom Goodwin.
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