East Fremantle and Perth have suffered significant blows on the eve of the WAFL season, with key midfielders struck down by serious wrist injuries.
Former East Fremantle captain Mark McGough will not play until June at the earliest after undergoing a wrist reconstruction.
And Perth's best-and-fairest winner, Brett Hodge, has a broken wrist that will prevent him lining up for the first month of the season.
McGough played with the wrist injury for much of last year but required major surgery after a recent diagnosis identified severe ligament damage in the joint.
The tough centreman has missed just two matches since joining the Sharks in 2010.
The former Collingwood and St Kilda player also had to battle a serious ankle problem for much of last season, but still managed to come fourth in the Sandover Medal count.
Hodge has returned to training at the Demons but is not expected to be fit to play until Easter.
He broke the wrist while skiing in Europe last month. However, the fracture was not diagnosed until he returned to Perth.
Hodge had a breakthrough season in 2013 when he won the Butcher Medal after becoming the club's leading ball winner with 428 possessions at 78 per cent efficiency.
His early absence will compound the loss of on-baller Alistair Smith, who will live and play in Northam.
Mitch and Cale Morton, who were on AFL lists last year, will join their brother Jarryd at Perth and could become the first group of three brothers to play in the WAFL since Ash, Kristin and Bryce Thornton appeared for Peel in 2011.
Mitch Morton is not likely to play the first match against his former team Claremont as he continues his recovery from pre-season knee surgery.
But the Sydney premiership player was in sparkling training form this week and looms as a pivotal figure in Perth's bid to end their 16-year finals drought.
·Claremont are trying to convince Swan Districts premiership forward Tim Geappen to make a comeback.
Geappen announced his retirement last month after 110 consecutive matches for Swans.
The 2010 flag winner is entitled to an automatic clearance, but Claremont would have to pay Swans a $15,000 transfer fee.
Geappen's decision to leave Swans has left the club short of senior players as it deals with its parlous financial position.
Flag winner Wayde Twomey and Shaun Hildebrandt have joined Subiaco, while Brett Robinson and Kyle Hams will play in the South West Football League. And Swans could not match the offers West Perth made to Andrew Krakouer and fellow premiership player Matt Spencer.
DID YOU KNOW? 78 Perth midfielder Brett Hodge's disposal-efficiency percentage last season