North Melbourne’s injury woes have continued, with defender Kyron Hayden stretchered off the field after a “bloody painful” collision during Saturday’s loss against the Richmond Tigers at Metricon Stadium.
The Kangaroos were trailing by 26 points on the Gold Coast when Hayden was involved in a significant collision early in the third quarter.
Attempting to claim a mark, the 21-year-old was running with the direction of the ball at full pace when his head made contact with Tom Lynch’s arm.
Hayden briefly sat up, before collapsing back onto the turf, visibly in a lot of pain and discomfort.
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After a few medics assisted the young Kangaroos star, he was stretchered off the ground with concussion.
“That was crazy brave, that was,” Channel 7 commentator Matthew Richardson said.
“That is just incredible the way these players put their body on the line. When they have to go, they go. It is a 100-kilo man running at full pace coming towards you.
“He is in a bad way, too, Kyron Hayden. That was like being hit with a freight train that was.
“You cannot underestimate how courageous Kyron Hayden was then.
“That is a heavy, heavy knock. Let’s hope he is OK.”
Four-time premiership player Luke Hodge elaborated on the cause of the “shocking” collision.
“He looked like he was unaware they were so close to him,” Hodge told Channel 7.
“Normally you would turn your body. He was stuck in a position where he didn’t have time to get a run and jump and turn his body. As you saw coming back here, it looked like he was going to try and take an uncontested mark.
“Courageous from the kid. Hopefully he is not too bad and there is no long-term injury for him.
“The sound of that was shocking. You could hear that clear as day, and we are a long way from it.
“That’s pure courage. A lot of people say it is stupid courage, but putting your body on the line like that from a young bloke, there is no doubt his teammates are going to respect him for that effort. That was superb.”
Brisbane Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson tweeted, “That’s f**king courage Kyron Hayden.”
Thankfully, Hayden remained conscious following the incident, and was spotted on the bench soon after. However, Fox Footy reporter Tom Morris suggested after the final siren he probably won’t be allowed to play in next weekend’s fixture.
Richmond dominated the opening quarter at Metricon Stadium, racing to a 27-point lead. Meanwhile, North Melbourne was unable to register a point until the second quarter, having only managed one inside 50 before the first quarter.
To make matters worse for the Kangaroos, skipper Jack Ziebell left the ground early in the match with an injury of his own, adding to the struggling club’s mammoth injury list.
While the Tigers boasted 78 per cent kicking efficiency in the first half, North Melbourne could only manage 60 per cent.
The Kangaroos never looked like making a comeback, failing to score a major after halftime and suffering a mammoth 11.11 (77) to 2.11 (23) loss on the Gold Coast.
North Melbourne’s 23 points is the lowest team score during a match at Metricon Stadium in AFL history.
Jake Aarts, Mabior Chol and Dustin Martin scored two goals each during the round seven match, while Shaun Higgins managed a match-high 36 disposals.
Having secured their fourth consecutive win, the reigning premiers jump up to fourth spot on the AFL ladder, while North Melbourne remain in the bottom three.
In round eight, Richmond will face the Greater Western Sydney Giants in a grand final rematch in Sydney on Friday evening, while the Kangaroos will take on Carlton in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon.