West Coast Eagles have been hit by the news their premiership defender Tom Cole is set to miss the first half of the AFL season after suffering an ankle injury.
The Eagles are priced at 11/10 to finish in the top eight of the AFL ladder and are determined to get there and play finals footy again after missing out last year.
It has been a tough pre-season so far for the Eagles who are having to cope without Jack Darling, while coach Adam Simpson has been hit by a host of injury issues.
Star forward Oscar Allen is currently on the sidelines after suffering a stress fracture in his foot which requires him to wear a moon boot for the next three weeks.
Jamie Cripps is out with a torn pectoral and Brad Sheppard has retired so the last thing Simpson needed was Cole picking up an ankle injury that needs surgery.
The 24-year-old damaged ankle cartilage during a training drill on Tuesday and is facing a spell out.
"It's obviously really disappointing for Tom and the club that he has suffered an injury of this nature so close to games starting and after completing a full pre-season up until this point," West Coast football manager Gavin Bell said.
"We'll continue to assess Tom throughout his rehabilitation, but at this stage we expect he will be sidelined for at least the first half of the season."
Cole was a part of the Eagles side that won the flag against Collingwood in 2018 and has made 78 AFL appearances for the club, including the 22 he played in last year.