St Kilda have capped an emotional week at the AFL club with a fighting 11-point pre-season win over Essendon.
But the 12.10 (82) to 9.17 (71) victory on Saturday night at Marvel Stadium came at a high price, with Saints young gun Hunter Clark sidelined for six weeks with an A/c joint injury.
Clark needed help from trainers as he groggily left the field in the frenetic last quarter after a big clash with Bombers star Darcy Parish in play.
He also missed several weeks last season because of a broken jaw.
“He might require surgery, I’m not sure there, but scans will reveal that,” said coach Brett Ratten..
“He will be out for at least a month.
“He’s maybe a little bit too brave at times, but he was a little bit unlucky – it was just the right angle and he had his arm stretched out.”
Jack Billings also will have a scan on a hamstring injury and is in doubt for round one, but Ratten said Trent McKenzie (ankle) was only taken from the field as a precaution.
Ratten said the Saints had a meeting before the game to discuss the death of staunch fan Shane Warne.
The legspin legend originally played at under-19 level for the Saints and they were his first sporting love before he concentrated on cricket.
Earlier this week, the Saints also opened the Danny Frawley Centre at their Moorabbin headquarters in honour of the former club captain, who died suddenly in September 2019.
“Shane’s passing, I think people will still be in a fair bit of shock in the next week or so,” Ratten said.
“It’s very close to home.”
The minute’s silence for Saints-mad Warne ended at 7.08pm, in honour of his Australian-record 708 Test wickets.
Warne would have loved his team’s opening, as Dan Butler kicked the first two goals of the game and the Saints led by 15 points at quarter time.
Essendon rallied, but the Saints led by 16 points at the main break and then new recruit Jack Hayes kicked a goal at three-quarter time to extend their advantage to 20.
The Bombers had most of the play in the last term, but again squandered their opportunities and only managed 2.8.
Saints key forward Max King slotted through his second goal of the game late from a tricky angle to seal the result.
Half-back Brad Hill impressed for the Saints with a game-high 28 disposals and key forward Tim Membrey kicked three goals.
Ruckman Rowan Marshall again showed why he is such an important player for St Kilda, picking up 24 possessions and 17 hitouts.
Parish had 26 possessions and seven clearances for the Bombers, while Peter Wright kicked three goals and Archie Perkins kicked their two goals in the last.