The Gold Coast Suns have lost Joel Jeffrey for the remainder of the AFL season, with the talented young forward undergoing surgery on his right knee.
What was believed to be a minor injury sustained in the Suns’ win over Adelaide last Sunday turned out to be much worse than expected, with scans revealing a lateral meniscus tear that ended his campaign.
“It’s a real shame,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said on Thursday.
“Joel added something to our side and felt comfortable at the level.
“It’s one that we were really surprised by as it wasn’t too painful (after the game), but when he stumbled in on Monday, my heart sank because I was just disappointed for him because he has put in a lot of work to get to come to him. where he is.”
News of Jeffrey’s season-ending injury came on the heels of teammate Wil Powell’s horrific ankle fracture and dislocation from the same game that also ended his 2022 campaign.
“You just want your young boys to play,” Dew said.
Better news for the in-form Suns ahead of Sunday’s away game against Port Adelaide: Jack Lukosius has signed a four-year contract extension.
“I couldn’t be happier to tie myself with the Suns for another four years,” said 21-year-old Lukosius, the runner-up in the 2018 AFL Draft.
“I am grateful they have shown confidence in me to play here, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“We have worked hard in recent years. We’re starting to see some rewards now, and I’m really excited about that.”
The versatile Lukosius, currently sidelined with a knee injury, will be back in the next two weeks.
“I just want to get back on the pitch and hopefully play my part in taking the club forward to where we want to go,” he said.
The Suns are not distracted by suggestions that their AFL final hopes are on the line in Sunday’s game at Adelaide Oval.
With his side just four points outside the top eight with more than a third of the regular season to go, Dew was surprised to talk that this weekend’s fight was considered a “do-or-die” encounter.
“We have nine games to go,” Dew said.
“A strength from us this year has kept our eyes pretty low for the weekend ahead.
“We will continue with our theme. That has worked. We are certainly not looking ahead.
“I have a good experience in the whole competition over several years.
“I was guilty of that as a player, and it doesn’t help you. I can certainly inform the group about the effects of that.”
The Suns, aiming for a fourth straight win on Sunday, are wary of a Power team just four points behind them on the ladder.
“It’s a great challenge,” Dew said.
“(Port Adelaide) played in a preliminary final last year. We’ve been watching them for the past few weeks, and they’ve built and are back at their best.”
The Power have won six past eight games, including a 23-point win over the Sydney Swans last Saturday.
“They really mistreated Sydney over the weekend, and that’s hard to do,” Dew said.
“It’s a great test for us. They play a hard style of footy. They play a hard kind of footy.
We are looking forward to a large audience.
“Our boys are excited to go there. We have real faith, not false beliefs, which is why we look forward to Sunday.”
Matt Rowell, Suns star Matt Rowell, echoed Dew’s “game-by-game” sentiments, despite his intense desire to be part of the first Sun’s squad in the club’s history to play finals football.
“We want to win finals, and we know we have a lot to win, but we’re only looking at one week at a time right now,” said Rowell.
“That’s all we can do – focus on who we have this week and prepare as best we can.”