Gold Coast’s AFL injury crisis has taken another turn for the worse with midfielder Dion Prestia unlikely to play again this year.
Prestia, 22, will have surgery this week on his left knee after scans revealed a torn lateral meniscus, suffered during the Suns’ loss to Collingwood at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.
The process will sideline Prestia for between 12 and 16 weeks.
“It is obviously an extremely disappointing setback for Dion,” Suns football operations manager Marcus Ashcroft said.
“He has had a good start to the season and his leadership on and off the ground has grown enormously.”
Prestia has played every game for the Suns so far this season, averaging just over 27 disposals per game and leading the competition in total clearances.
He joins captain Gary Ablett (shoulder), David Swallow (knee) and Jaeger O’Meara (knee) on Gold Coast’s long-term injury list.
Illustrating just how much quality the Suns have lost to injury, those four players all finished in the top five of last year’s club best and fairest count.
“There is no doubt we are in the middle of some adverse times, and that is placing extra responsibility on the remainder of the team,” Ashcroft said.
“However, we have found some positives during this phase and players such as Jarrod Garlett, Henry Schade, Adam Saad, and Touk Miller have all stood up in their first season of senior football.”
The Suns are equal-bottom of the ladder, only sitting above Carlton due to a marginally better percentage.
And things won’t get better in a hurry – Gold Coast faces reigning premiers Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday, before tackling Sydney and current ladder leaders Fremantle at home in the weeks to follow.