North Melbourne have paid a heavy price for their tight AFL loss to Essendon, with two significant health issues and Ben Cunnington in more tribunal strife.
Rising Star nominee Nick Larkey suffered a recurrence of heart palpitations in Saturday's twilight game at Marvel Stadium, while Luke McDonald's season might be over because of a leg fracture.
Cunnington, who was well-held by Essendon tagger Dylan Clarke, will come under match review scrutiny again for a swinging arm that caught Zach Merrett high.
While Merrett might have put some mayo on the incident as Cunnington tried to spoil from behind, it comes in the same week that the North star was fined $5000.
It was Cunnington's fourth charge this season and he is on a tribunal knife edge, having already forked out $15,0000 in fines.
The Kangaroos stormed home in the last quarter after trailing by 18 points at the last change, but Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's freakish snapped goal with 17 seconds left consigned them to a five-point loss.
It stalls North's late-season resurgence since Heath Shaw took over as interim coach.
The dramatic match continues an eventful weekend for Shaw, whose odds of staying North coach shorted dramatically on Friday night when John Longmire re-signed with Sydney.
Shaw said Larkey's heart issue was not at the same severity as the problem that threatens the AFL career of St Kilda star Dylan Roberton.
"It's definitely not on that scale," Shaw said.
"Nick's had heart palpitations and he's been managing that for a long time.
"Our doctors are all over that and they put the processes in place, he just had a little turn.
"He's had it a couple of times. It's not a massive thing."
Shaw then said McDonald suffered a fracture in the fibula bone, near the ankle, during the last term.
"It doesn't look good in terms of the rest of the year," he added.
Shaw said his impression of the Cunnington incident was that the star midfielder was going for the ball.
"He hit the ball, he was going for the ball - that's the way I read it," he said, adding: "Probably it wasn't the best look."
Shaw was asked about his reaction to Longmire confirming he would stay at Sydney and turning down feelers from the Kangaroos.
"It's great for John - he's obviously a fantastic coach, a great coach.
"He deserves it, he's done really well.
"My situation tonight is not great. We just lost, so that's all I can worry about and that's all I do worry about."
Australian Associated Press