Jake Murphy's difficult first season as Claremont captain has hit another road block, with the key midfielder ruled out of today's clash against Subiaco at Claremont Showground with an Achilles injury.
The 24-year-old failed to recover despite an extra week's rest with the State game bye.
The club said the latest hiccup was not linked to the knee Murphy injured in the round-three game against the Lions.
The blow comes with the Tigers sitting second bottom. They have the league's worst percentage and are aiming to halt a slide that has seen them lose five of their past six matches.
They are in a dogfight to avoid the club's first wooden spoon in almost four decades. Claremont last finished bottom in 1975.
Football manager Dean Hors-ington said Murphy could miss the next fortnight given the short turnaround between the club's next two matches. They play West Perth on Saturday.
"There's no problems with the knee," Horsington said.
"It's purely an Achilles issue that we're trying to manage. There's no doubt having your captain miss the weeks he has and given the way he plays, it has hurt us."
One positive for Claremont is that they have been boosted by the return of last year's State under-18 player Brenden Abbott, who kicked four goals against Swan Districts a fortnight ago.
Second-placed Subiaco will be bolstered by the inclusion of Jarrod Kayler-Thomson and Rhys Waters.
Lions coach Jarrad Schofield said they had been conservative with injured players like Darren Rumble (groin), who has been named as an emergency.
"With such a big second half of the year, we didn't want to take any risks," he said.
"That's been our policy with all players this year. We don't want to risk guys that are under any cloud for the long term for the sustainability of the club."
Subiaco's two losses for the season have both come in the past month against league leaders Swan Districts and premiers West Perth.
Schofield said he wasn't overly concerned by the defeats.
"We're still getting the effort and we're still getting them to adhere to our structures and that's the pleasing thing," he said.
"We've come up against some quality sides."