Charlie Comben will face an extended stint on the sidelines, following surgery to repair a tibial stress fracture in his right leg.

North Melbourne GM Football Brady Rawlings said the sensible decision was to opt for a procedure to give the young forward a full recovery.

“We had a really good chat with Charlie about his options and together we decided to repair the fracture surgically with a view on his long-term health,” Rawlings said.

“His rehabilitation from the surgery will be a conservative approach and we will build him back to full strength slowly. 

“We need to ensure he is tracking in the right direction before he can progress through his rehabilitation phase.”

Meanwhile, Trent Dumont and Aiden Bonar are both rehabilitating calf injuries with Dumont close to a return to full training. 

“Trent will return to train with the main group in February, and he still has time to be ready for Round 1,” Rawlings said.

“Unfortunately Aidan is looking at about a four-to-six week rehabilitation period.”

Rookie Matt McGuinness is recovering from a finger tendon injury with full training another six to eight weeks away.

Overall Rawlings said availability is high and the group is tracking well.

“The majority of our players haven’t missed a beat this pre-season which is something we haven’t had in recent years,” he said. 

“Players like Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington, Nick Larkey, Jared Polec, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Kayne Turner, Taylor Garner, Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Tristan Xerri, Dom Tyson, and Will Walker are all enjoying full pre-seasons after interrupted 2020 campaigns and are doing just about everything which will hold us in good stead.

“We have a little way to go before Round 1 so our focus will be on making sure we maintain high rates of player availability as we ramp up the intensity of training and start to get into game mode.”

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