WEST Coast has suffered a devastating blow ahead of its inaugural AFLW season, with ruck Alicia Janz to miss the entire campaign with a knee injury.
The 29-year-old underwent surgery to repair the meniscus in her right knee after an incident in the WAFLW earlier this year.
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She had a second procedure last week that has ruled her out of the 2020 season.
Janz has a history of knee injuries, having had a PCL reconstruction on her left knee along with MCL (medial collateral ligament) and LCL (lateral collateral ligament) strains sustained in the final round of the 2018 season when she played for Fremantle.
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She missed almost 12 months of football before returning this year to play four consecutive games for the Dockers, including their preliminary final loss to Carlton at Ikon Park.
Janz joined the Eagles on a two-year deal in April during the AFLW Sign and Trade period.
Eagles head of female football Adam Selwood said Janz – who was last week voted into the team’s leadership group – would still play a big role throughout the club’s maiden AFLW campaign.
"For Alicia's ongoing wellbeing on and off the field, we think the best thing to do is to rule her out for the upcoming AFLW season and focus on making sure that her knee is completely repaired," Selwood said.
"We think by taking the pressure off Alicia and investing in her body, she's going to be a better player when she comes back.
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"As disappointing as it is for Alicia, she will still play a massive role leadership-wise in 2020.
"We'll be leaning on her to maintain standards in the rehabilitation group by keeping everyone focused and offering support where needed.
"The club will tailor an individual plan that will help Alicia improve her ruck craft and set her up for a big 2021 campaign."