THE Temora Dragons' return to Group Nine has copped a cruel early blow with playmaker Sam Elwin confirming he will likely miss the entire season with a serious knee injury.
Elwin will have surgery in Sydney on Wednesday after rupturing his left posterior cruciate ligament, and suffering a slight tear in his anterior cruciate ligament, attempting to catch a kick-off in Friday's 48-6 trial win over West Wyalong.
It came at an inopportune time for Elwin, who had returned to the Dragons after playing for Junee last season when Temora took the year off.
He said he was enjoying his football more than ever, and relishing the chance to play instinctively and let new halves partner Josh McCrone control the team.
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"I think that's the year done and dusted. It's a shame, I was really looking forward to this year," Elwin said.
"As soon as I landed I got tackled around the legs, my knee was stuck in the ground and the upper body was going in the opposite direction.
"Having Josh back I've enjoyed my footy a lot more, just playing a bit more off-the-cuff. It's come with a bit of success, making the final of (Junee) Nines and putting a cricket score on West Wyalong.
"I'd found the enjoyment back in my footy again. The last couple of years I've been turning up and counting down the minutes until the game's over, whereas this year I've enjoyed every minute I've been out there.
"But the way the world is at the moment there's plenty worse off. I'm lucky I've got a very understanding boss and good health, I can't complain."
Elwin said he may take the opportunity to sort out some long-term stiffness in his right knee when he goes under the knife.
"We're pretty lucky, (surgeon) Brett Fritsch is from Temora and is the best in the business when it comes to knees and looks after us Temora boys pretty well."
He is confident the Dragons can find a suitable replacement to partner McCrone in the halves, with new recruit Jai Doherty, fellow centre Jock Ward and Brayden Taylor all options.
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