The Gold Coast SUNS have been dealt a double blow with scans today resulting in surgery for Gary Ablett and Michael Rischitelli.
Ablett will miss the remainder of the 2016 season after scans revealed he would require surgery to his left shoulder injured during the final quarter of the SUNS' 26-point win over the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night.
"Gary’s shoulder is not as good as we first thought. Initially we thought it mightn’t have been as bad but scans today confirmed he’ll miss the remainder of the year," General Manager – Football Operations Marcus Ashcroft said.
"It's clearly a very disappointing result for Gary and the club but we will make sure Gary gets the surgery and treatment required to ensure Gary returns in 2017."
Ashcroft confirmed Ablett will meet with the clubs medical staff and specialists to determine the full extent of the damage to his shoulder and to discuss the surgical options available to Ablett.
Ablett told goldcoastfc.com.au he is disappointed to miss the remainder of the season, especially after the team had done the hard yards to get back into the winners circle.
“Injuries are part of the game and it’s frustrating that I will miss the rest of the year, in particular after we’ve worked hard to get back to playing a much more competitive style of footy," he said.
The SUNS skipper said he believes the team’s leaders will continue to drive the standards on the field in the absence of Michael Rischitelli and himself.
“We’re building a strong culture of leadership and accountability on and off the field. While Michael and I will still play that role off the field, I have no doubt that the team, led by our vice-captains Tom Lynch, Steven May and Dion Prestia will continue holding each other to account.”
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Ashcroft also confirmed the SUNS' early fears, with scans to Michael Rischitelli’s right knee revealing a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
“Michael’s scans have come back and unfortunately they have confirmed that he will require reconstructive surgery to repair a ruptured ACL," Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft said Rischitelli, 31, who was playing his 100th game for the club, would continue to lead the way off the field.
“Really disappointing night for Michael to go down. He’ll miss the rest of this year and a little bit of the pre-season coming up but I think for Michael he’s really led from the front through a really difficult patch of this year.
“He has really been the heartbeat of our club for many, many years so the plans we’ll put in place for ‘Rischa’ will see him get back and play next season, we’re pretty confident of that. He’s contracted for 2017 and we’re looking forward to him playing many more games with the football club.”