SICKENING INJURY: Koby Stevens of the Bulldogs (second right) comforts teammate Mitch Wallis as he is taken off on the weekend.
SICKENING INJURY: Koby Stevens of the Bulldogs (second right) comforts teammate Mitch Wallis as he is taken off on the weekend. TRACEY NEARMY

Dogs have little time to lick wounds

THE Western Bulldogs are going to have to regroup quickly after the sickening incident involving popular team man Mitch Wallis on Saturday.

The young midfielder fractured both the tibia and fibula in his leg as he tried to get a kick away in the match against St Kilda at Docklands.

His coach Luke Beveridge summed it up best when he described it as “traumatic” for not only Wallis, but also his teammates.

Many had been in the rooms after the game, shedding tears for their fallen friend, who is one of the game’s genuine nice guys.

He was good enough to take a call from yours truly just before boarding a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast when the side was playing the Suns the previous weekend.

You didn’t have to be a Bulldogs fan to feel “gut-churningly” devastated for the young man, especially while watching him scream in agony.

While concussion has been the big concern among players and officials – and rightfully so, due to the possible long-lasting effects – there’s nothing more graphic than seeing a broken bone, which can happen so innocuously.

One of Wallis’s own feet had caught the back of his leg as he was about to be tackled by Saint Shane Savage to cause the break.

The incident would have brought unwanted memories flooding back of the broken legs suffered by Richard Osborne when trying to make a tackle for Fitzroy in 1990, or Nathan Brown when having his kick smothered not long after arriving at Richmond in 2005.

Brown yesterday described the pain Wallis would have been feeling as “enormous” and “unbelievable”.

“You think that the world will end and it subsides after a moment and it is like shock takes over your body and you don’t feel it for a while,” he told Channel Nine.

Brown said the worst part would be the suffering at home.

“The hospital is the easy part ... when you get home that is the real hard part,” he said.

“You get home and because you can’t move your leg, it is still black, you can’t put it down or lift it up.

“You are in bed for probably the next two weeks. I remember every night for two or three weeks sweating profusely during the night because of the painkillers you took, (and) you lay there in a wet bed.

“He is going to go through all this, (but) he is a tough kid and he comes from a good family.”

Wallis will lament not being a part of another finals campaign that had been promising so much, but is now under an immense cloud with key forward Jack Redpath doing his knee and also joining inspirational skipper Rob Murphy (knee) for an extended period on the sidelines.

“We’ve got a Friday nighter against the Cats, so we haven’t got a lot of time to process it,” Beveridge said post-match.

“I think by the end of Tuesday, when we walk out of the building at the club, we’ve got to be ready to move on and meet the challenges ahead.

“We’ve put too much work in to let it fall by the wayside.”


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