Hamilton are not counting on having skipper Steve Lamont back this season.
Hawks coach Scott Coleman had hoped to have Lamont fit for the finals after he broke his arm and dislocated his wrist in the 29-27 win over Maitland on Saturday, but he said on Wednesday that was now unlikely.
The inspirational forward had surgery to fix a plate to the fracture on Wednesday.
“Steve got operated on this morning and it looks like being a 12-13 week turnaround, which means he’ll miss the season,” Coleman said. “He’s one of our best on the field and off it, he’s our captain, so it’s a massive blow.”
It follows the loss of veteran Peter Maxwell (ruptured bicep), who was also playing hooker, for the season. Coleman said Harry Drennan and Lachlan Hodges would fight it out for the No.2 jersey.
Mathieu Verschelden (shoulder), Laufiso Vaisagote (broken hand), Sami Paulsson (shoulder) and Liam Walker (back) are other sidelined Hawks. Coleman said his two-time defending premiers’ “depth and mental character will be tested”.
“But the boys are up for it and they were all pretty positive last night,” he added.
“It gives our fringe players and guys who haven’t got a crack the last couple of years a chance to step up.”