ST KILDA will be without star recruit Bianca Jakobsson for the foreseeable future after the defender broke her collarbone on Saturday.
Playing against her original side Carlton, the clever rebounding defender lasted just over a quarter before suffering the injury in a collision.
The 27-year-old will undergo surgery this week.
The injury is particularly galling for Jakobsson, given she had sat out the 2020 season (her third and final at Melbourne) due to her commitments with the Victoria police academy.
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"It’s obviously really disappointing for Bianca," St Kilda head of women’s football Jamie Cox said.
"She’s had a really great pre-season, so for this to happen on the eve of season proper is tough.
"That being said, Bianca has a great attitude and will no doubt attack rehab with everything she’s got."
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Jakobsson's injury throws a spanner in the works of St Kilda's backline structure, particularly as Irish key defender Clara Fitzpatrick is already unavailable for 2021 due to permanent residency application delays.
The Saints also brought in medium defender Jayde Van Dyk over the trade period from Carlton, and will be buoyed by the successful return of interceptor Tarni White from an ACL injury on Saturday.