Rodney Eade says he’s never seen an injury crisis like the one that has gripped the Gold Coast, but insists there is light at the end of the tunnel.
That’s cold comfort, however, ahead of Saturday’s daunting AFL clash with Adelaide at Metricon Stadium, which will almost certainly deliver a sixth consecutive loss for the battling expansion side.
The Crows have been installed as unbackable $1.04 favourites to defeat the Suns, and with good reason.
Injury has ripped through Gold Coast’s talented squad to the point where Eade says they have just “four or five” AFL-listed players available for reserves duty.
On top of losing skipper Gary Ablett (concussion), Adam Saad (hamstring), Touk Miller (ankle) and Aaron Hall (shoulder) this week alone, the Suns were dealt another cruel blow in the final five minutes of their training session on Thursday, when young key defender Jack Leslie went down with an ankle injury.
Leslie failed a fitness test on Friday morning and has been replaced in the side by Keegan Brooksby, who was initially omitted.
As the bodies keep piling up, Eade says there’s only one thing the Suns can do.
“We’ve just got to hang in there,” he told reporters on Friday.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“The troops will be back, we know where we’re going.
“I’m pretty positive and confident we can turn this around quickly.”
Adelaide, who are clinging to eighth spot, will be rubbing their hands together with glee at what will be an ideal chance to play themselves back into form.
They’ve never lost to the Suns in eight attempts and are on notice after back-to-back losses to the Western Bulldogs and Geelong.
Coach Don Pyke has dropped underperforming on-baller Brad Crouch and rested his brother Matt (general soreness) as he seeks a response from his side.
In comes former skipper Nathan van Berlo and Jarryd Lyons.
“VB’s a quality person (and) obviously an ex-captain of the footy club,” Crows assistant coach Scott Camporeale said.
“He brings flexibility and he brings experience for us.”