North Melbourne ruckman Tristan Xerri suffered a concerning lower leg injury against the West Coast Eagles on Saturday afternoon.

In the first quarter of action, Xerri, while being tackled, appeared to be twisted while his left foot was still planted in the Marvel Stadium turf.

At the quarter-time break North Melbourne activated their tactical sub by bringing Will Phillips into the game while confirming Xerri has sustained an ankle injury.

The ramifications could be significant for the Kangaroos, particularly after mastermind coach Alastair Clarkson decided against naming veteran ruckman Todd Goldstein in addition to Xerri on the team sheet in the lead-up to Saturday's contest.

"[Xerri has] continued to improve his application to his training and ultimately he is the future of our ruck division at the footy club," Clarkson told the media on Friday.

"Goldy's been a great stalwart, but the future in terms of the next 5-10 years is going to be with a newer guy coming in.

"He deserves his opportunity and he's just got the nod ahead of Goldy at this point in time."

With a lack of tall options remaining behind Xerri for Clarkson to work with against the towering Eagles, who boast Bailey Williams, Callum Jamieson, and Oscar Allen, forward pair Charlie Comben and Nick Larkey could be required to take on the ruck workload.