Tom McKenzie will slowly work his way back to full training after an injury setback.

A small stress fracture in his lower back has flared up, according to North GM football Cameron Joyce.

“Tom had an initial back injury earlier in the year, and despite backing him off and reducing his training loads, it has flared a little,” Joyce explained.

“Our medical team’s focus is on Tom’s long-term welfare and we will take as much time as he needs to heal his back properly before reintegrating him into training.”

Despite the setback, McKenzie could play some games before the end of the year.

“That’s certainly the hope at this stage,” Joyce added.

“We feel that there’s plenty of time to get Tom right, and to get some more games under his belt if all goes well.”

North selected McKenzie with its first pick in the 2018 Rookie Draft.