Angela Reakes' season is all but over with an Achilles tear dealing the ACT Meteors a devastating blow little more than a week out from their WNCL opener.
The Meteors will open their WNCL campaign against Victoria in Adelaide on Sunday before backing up against South Australia on Tuesday.
But a training mishap saw Reakes go under the knife last week and all but ends her season before a ball has been bowled.
The torn Achilles tendon will keep the 28-year-old all-rounder out of both the Meteors' 50-over campaign and the Melbourne Stars' WBBL season beginning on October 8.
It is a cruel blow for one of the Meteors' finest leading into an extended season.
"She's out for an indefinite period of time which is no good. We were just at training, she was running and went to turn and it just went," Meteors coach David Drew said.
"It wasn't a great situation but she has had her operation and all prospects are looking good. It's obviously a long-term recovery, so we just have to make sure she gets the right help and gets looked after.
MORE CRICKET NEWS
"She's in really good spirits at the moment and just wants the best for the rest of the team, which is the way she is.
"Hopefully she's ready to rock and roll next year."
Reakes' absence will leave a gaping hole in the Meteors' batting line-up and robs captain Erin Osborne of another key spinner after Erin Burns and Sam Bates both left the capital over the off-season.
The heat is now on a raft of other players to fill the void - and the Meteors' final trial game left Drew confident they will do just that.
Opening batter Katie Mack scored 122 against a Cricket NSW academy side at Chisholm Oval on Saturday to cap off her preparations in style.
Maddie Penna - the emerging prospect from Sydney who has spent time with the Meteors during pre-season - also took the chance to show why she is of such great interest to Drew.
The clash with Victoria looms as a perfect chance for the ACT to get their campaign off to a dream start given the opposition will be without international superstars Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning.
The Victorians could also be without the likes of Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham, Sophie Molineux and Tayla Vlaeminck as the Australian squad makes their way home from a tour of the West Indies.
"That evens the contest up. We want to play all the teams with their strongest players in, but you play who you play," Drew said.
"It's been a long pre-season in the gym, indoors, the cold mornings in Canberra. We're looking forward to getting out onto the field and putting all the hard work into action.
"If [the Meteors] can perform half as well as they have at training, we're going to be in with a hell of a shake."
ACT METEORS WNCL FIXTURE
Game 1: September 22 - Victoria v ACT Meteors at Park 25, Adelaide, 10am.
Game 2: September 24 - SA Scorpions v ACT Meteors at Karen Rolton Oval, 10am.
Game 3: January 6 - NSW Breakers v ACT Meteors at Hurstville Oval, 10am.
Game 4: January 7 - ACT Meteors v Queensland Fire at Blacktown International Sportspark, 10am.
Game 5: January 21 - ACT Meteors v Queensland Fire at Manuka Oval, 10am.
Game 6: January 23 - ACT Meteors v NSW Breakers at Manuka Oval, 10am.
Game 7: February 4 - ACT Meteors v Western Australia at Phillip Oval, 10am.
Game 8: February 6 - ACT Meteors v Tasmania Tigers at Phillip Oval, 10am.