Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade is unsure if his team can continue their current rate of improvement without Gary Ablett and Michael Rischitelli, who both face potentially long spells on the sideline.
The Suns beat Brisbane by 26 points in Saturday’s AFL Q-Clash at Metricon Stadium, but Ablett (shoulder) and Rischtielli (knee) went down with what appeared to be serious injuries.
Scans on Monday will reveal more but the early signs are discouraging.
While their next best midfielder, Dion Prestia, could miss next weekend’s clash with the Western Bulldogs due to a knee injury.
Ablett reinjured his left shoulder – the same one he dislocated two years ago – when Mitch Robinson shrugged off a tackle attempt from the two-time Brownlow winner in the final term.
Rischitelli, meanwhile, heard the dreaded ‘pop’ sound that indicates anterior cruciate ligament damage when he wrongfooted and collapsed to the turf while chasing Robinson in the opening minutes.
Eade was left to wonder what the Suns have done to deserve such wretched luck on the injury front, and to ponder what it will mean for the rest of the season.
Having just booked back-to-back wins to snap a 10-game losing streak, the momentum Gold Coast has built up is at risk without Ablett and Rischitelli, two hardened, experienced and effective on-ballers.
“There’s teams we’ve seen at the moment that have won a lot of games but they start to struggle because they’ve got five or six players out,” Eade said.
“It’s never an excuse but it’s always a reality and there’s always a tipping point with that. But we’ll look for improvement like we have in the past.
“We’ll test teams, there’s no doubt about that. We won the last quarter without (Ablett).”