MELBOURNE’S Eliza McNamara will miss the upcoming AFL Women’s season after suffering a fracture of her spine.  

The midfielder sustained the injury when she accidently lost her footing while undertaking a weighted exercise.

Scans confirmed impact to her lumbar spine and McNamara has since undergone surgery to repair the injury, subsequently sidelining her for an extended period. 

GM of AFLW Marcus Wagner said the news was devastating for McNamara and the club.

“Eliza was completing a programmed exercise in the gym last week as part of her training prep, when she lost her footing while lifting a weighted barbell,” Wagner said.

“She unfortunately sustained an injury to her L1 vertebra in the process and was transferred to hospital immediately.

“Thankfully, Eliza’s neurology is completely intact. She underwent surgery on Saturday to stabilise the area, which all went to plan, and she is expected to make a full recovery, albeit a lengthy journey.”

McNamara has become an important member of the Demons’ midfield, playing 22 games across her first two seasons at the club, including last season’s AFLW Grand Final.

Regarded for her ferocity and courage, Wagner emphasised his disappointment for the 20-year-old.

“It’s incredibly unfortunate for Eliza and our team. She has had a great couple of months and was preparing to take her game to another level this season,” Wagner said.

“Despite the situation, Eliza is in good spirits, which is a reflection of her resilient nature and positive outlook on life.

“These next few months will be a challenge, but our entire playing group, coaches and staff will throw their arms around Eliza and support her and her family every step of the way.” 

McNamara was drafted with pick No.15 in the 2020 National Draft and earned herself a Rising Star nomination just seven games into her AFLW career.