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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Shoulder setback for WA’s Declan Mountford at North Melbourne

WA midfielder Declan Mountford has suffered a serious setback ahead of what shapes as a make-or-break season at North Melbourne, with a shoulder injury set to keep him out of action for at least a month.
The Claremont product ruptured an AC joint in an innocuous incident at training on Monday, landing awkwardly as he put out an arm to break his fall.
He had surgery to repair the damage on Tuesday — his 21st birthday — and is unlikely to feature in the Kangaroos’ season opener against Gold Coast in Cairns on March 24.
“The surgeon’s report is that the surgery was a raging success. We’re reticent to put a hard and fast time frame on it, but it’s fair to say that he won’t play in the next month,” coach Brad Scott said.
Drafted at the end of 2015, Mountford made his debut against West Coast in round one last year and was dropped the next week.
But he played the final 11 games of the season and showed enough promise to earn a one-year contract extension.
Mountford has set himself for a big year, training with both the midfield and defensive groups in a bid to improve his versatility.
“It’s really disappointing for him because he’s had a great pre-season and we were looking forward to seeing him in the JLT (pre-season series),” Scott said.
“But we don’t think he’ll be too far off round one.”
In better news, captain Jack Ziebell has recovered from the injuries that plagued him last season.
Ziebell had toe surgery in the off-season and was on a modified training program until early last month, having also endured rib and collarbone injuries in 2017.
He is likely to play in North’s opening JLT series game against Melbourne on February 24.
North have identified former Perth speedster Gordon Narrier and top draft pick Luke Davies-Uniacke (No.4 overall) as players to watch during the pre-season.
Narrier played 17 WAFL games with the Demons last season before being taken with pick 20 in the rookie draft.