Gold Coast’s veteran coach Rodney Eade says he’s never seen an injury crisis like the one on his hands at the struggling AFL club right now.
The Suns face Hawthorn in Tasmania on Saturday and are down to bare bones, with on-baller Dion Prestia this week added to the club’s bulging casualty ward.
Prestia is unlikely to return again this year after undergoing knee surgery, with his absence meaning the Suns will be without four of the top five finishers in last year’s best and fairest account, along with Gary Ablett (shoulder), David Swallow (knee) and Jaeger O’Meara (knee).
“You look at North Melbourne, who are a very good side, top-four team, had their three best midfielders out last week and lose by 12 goals against a very good team,” said Eade on Friday.
“It shows if you lose your key engine room, it makes things very difficult.
“I haven’t seen anything like it, but it is what it is and we’ve got to work through it.
“The players’ spirit is still up, which is a positive.
“I’ve got no doubt once we get through this we’ll be better for it.”
Gold Coast have won just one game this season and are only off the bottom of the ladder due to Carlton’s inferior percentage.
They are rank outsiders against Hawthorn, who are close to full-strength and have an excellent record at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium.
Eade said the Suns couldn’t afford to dwell on their predicament.
“You’ve got to sell hope and you’ve got to go with a mindset you can win the game and that’s our mindset,” he said.
“We obviously realise the enormity of the event and enormity of the challenge but by the same token we’ll keep the focus areas pretty narrow.”