Exciting Fremantle draftee Lachie Neale is likely to miss the start of the home-and-away season after injuring his left ankle in the NAB Cup match against Port Adelaide at Victor Harbor on Saturday.

Neale was assisted from the ground in the third quarter as both sides felt the impact of a tough, physical contest.

Fremantle’s Nick Suban suffered a cut to his head and the Power’s Steven Salopek broke his nose, while teammate Hamish Hartlett sent a huge scare through the Port Adelaide camp, leaving the ground after a hit to his injury-prone left shoulder in the third quarter.

The Power said after the game that Hartlett was fine, but the news wasn’t so good for Neale.

“It doesn’t look great,” Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said.

“It’s not a broken leg or anything, it’s just an ankle – but it looks a significant ankle. It’s disappointing … but we’re waiting. (The doctors) will assess it.”

Neale was set to make his AFL debut in Fremantle’s round one clash against Geelong, but Lyon conceded that now looks unlikely.

“(He’s) a young player we were pretty keen to play round one, but you think he’d be up against it now,” Lyon said.

Lyon was left to lament another sluggish start from his side, which conceded five unanswered goals in the first term.

“You saw it last year, we lost 17 first quarters. The first 15 minutes (last week) against Richmond was really poor, and the first 15 minutes here we laid two tackles to the 12-minute mark,” he said.

“We need to have a good look at our warm-up, a good look at how we start training and try and get some intensity at the start.”

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