Star North Melbourne defender Robbie Tarrant will undergo shoulder surgery after he was hurt in the AFL club's intra-club hit-out, but the Roos are confident he will be ready for round one.
Tarrant was crunched in a tackle by Kayne Turner during Wednesday's city v country scratch match at Arden St.
The key defender hurt his AC joint and was sent for scans, with the Kangaroos later confirming the 29-year-old will need an operation.
"Robbie was propelled forward in a tackle and landed awkwardly on his right shoulder," North football chief Cameron Joyce said.
"He was immediately assessed by our medical team and sent to a specialist for a second opinion and possible surgical intervention.
"All we can do now is ensure that he's fit and firing in time for the start of the season.
"He'll be operated on (on Thursday) and he'll waste no time with his recovery and rehabilitation."
Tarrant had recently recovered from a calf injury and had only just resumed full training.
Despite the back-to-back setbacks, the Roos remain confident he will be fit to take part in the premiership season-opener against Fremantle in Perth.
But the injury means Tarrant is the latest withdrawal from the February 22 AFLX mini-tournament.
Tarrant was named in Patrick Dangerfield's Bolts AFLX side for the Marvel Stadium event.
Hawthorn recruit Chad Wingard, his former Port Adelaide teammate Robbie Gray and Fremantle defender Joel Hamling have pulled out of AFLX because of injuries.
Third in last year's club best and fairest, Tarrant remained as a vice-captain on Monday when North's leadership group was named.
Tarrant was not the only North casualty on Wednesday, with Nick Larkey forced off the ground after a head clash and Sam Wright (hand) also hurt.
North recruit Jared Polec said the intensity of North's pre-season had been impressive.
"The pre-season has been one of the hardest I've done for a while and it's fantastic," the former Port Adelaide onballer said.
"It's a good culture, everyone's really close and I'm really looking forward to it.
"Just the competitiveness (has been the hardest feature) early.
"There was no holding back. You've got some big blokes on the inside, so it was really good."