Gold Coast can still salvage something out of a disastrous AFL season without Gary Ablett, vice-captain Michael Rischitelli says.
As if their AFL season couldn’t get any worse, the Suns learned on Monday that their superstar skipper would miss the rest of the year due to a knee injury.
Ablett’s short-lived return from shoulder surgery momentarily injected life back into the young Gold Coast side, restoring genuine hope they could make genuine improvement at the back end of the season.
Instead it’s back to square one for the Suns, who are also without arguably their three other best midfielders in Jaeger O’Meara, Dion Prestia and David Swallow.
Yet Rischitelli insists there is still plenty that Gold Coast can get out of the final stretch of the season, which begins on Saturday night against the in-form West Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium.
“You don’t have a choice,” Rischitelli said.
“We know what’s in front of us.
“It’s been a tough year but we’ve just got to be really positive.
“We can get something out of these last six weeks and carry it onto next year.”
Rischitelli has emerged from the muck of Gold Coast’s horrendous 2015 as one of the club’s true leaders.
The 29-year-old has shouldered an incredible load on the field in the absence of almost the entire Suns midfield while helping re-establish off-field order at a club that has been dogged by drug and alcohol-related scandals.
Rischitelli said the Suns needed to restore some “pride” before the year was out.
“The last six weeks we’ll find out a little bit more about ourselves,” he said.
“We need to get back on track. It’s tough but you’ve got to bounce off each other as well.
“Everyone goes through a rut. It’s just about sticking tight, keep being professional, keep approaching every week like it’s your last.”