Geelong will send Patrick Dangerfield in for surgery to repair an ankle injury and he will miss an indefinite period.
Garry Lyon worries about the load his absence will put on their other older stars.
“It makes it much, much harder. We know the sort of player that Patrick Dangerfield is and the influence he can have over the result and the team,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“I think there’s some challenging times down at Geelong.
“I picked Geelong (to win the flag) before the season, just took a shot at the dartboard as we all do, and I thought with their ins they would have one more shot at it.
“What they wouldn’t have needed is the injuries to Jeremy Cameron, there’s no certainty he’ll be back this week and now this injury to Patrick Dangerfield.
“What it does is it puts more pressure on your other ageing stars. Joel Selwood gives his heart and soul every time he plays, but now that Dangerfield isn’t there he’ll have to assume more of a role. Mitch Duncan’s had injuries.
“I think it makes it really hard.”
AFL Legend Malcolm Blight added Geelong is a “lesser team” without Dangerfield.
“Some players are just not coverable,” he told SEN’s Whateley.
The Cats host West Coast at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday afternoon.