NEW Gisborne coach Rod Sharp has conceded 2012 Michelsen Medal winner Scott Walsh faces another delayed start to the season.
Walsh suffered a broken femur in the opening seconds of the 2012 BFNL grand final loss to Golden Square.
The injury skittled the midfielder's pre-season and restricted him to just nine games in 2013.
Sharp said Walsh had undergone more surgery this off-season to have screws removed from his leg and hips.
"With the surgery Scotty Walsh had, he basically had to reinjure himself,'' Sharp said.
"The doctor told him the recovery would be basically the same as last year when he broke the leg.
"We're hoping that by about round four Scott will be ready to go. We won't be rushing him back. We don't want him getting soft tissue injuries like he did this year. He'll be like a recruit."
The news is more positive for star ruckman Tom Waters.
A serious ankle injury restricted Waters to just seven games this year.
"Tommy has been doing all the training,'' Sharp said.
"He's never been a super runner, but he hasn't missed a beat this pre-season.
"Like Scott, Tom will be like a recruit for us."
Sharp said the Bulldogs had raised the bar so far this pre-season.
"We've had solid numbers... around 45 at training most nights,'' Sharp said.
"The boys are super fit, I've been really impressed with how they've gone about it."