The news isn’t what SUNS fans were after with ruckman Jarrod Witts set to miss the remainder of the season following a knee injury suffered in the tight loss to the crows in Round 3.
General Manager Football Jon Haines confirmed the details of the injury today but was quick to highlight the leadership and attitude the club captain had shown in the face of adversity.
“Jarrod underwent scans this morning, and they’ve revealed an ACL rupture,” Haines said.
“He'll undergo surgery in the short term and what it'll mean from a playing point of view is that he’ll miss the rest of the season.”
“It's disappointing for Wittsy first and foremost and for the club as well.”
“But, we've already seen today, with Jarod’s response, he's already looking forward as to how he can impact the club and impact the group as a leader.”
“How can he grow his leadership and influence the playing group during his rehab and with his presence around the club.”
The SUNS tall stocks have been hit with injury to start 2021 but Haines was quick to outline the opportunity that lay ahead.
“There's going to be opportunity for someone else to step into that role, but also for the team to step up and fill the void that he leaves on field as a leader and the playing group are excited by that opportunity.”
“We've got some options to work through, as we saw on the weekend Chris Burgess performed really well in the ruck as well as hitting the scoreboard.”
“Caleb Graham is certainly someone that as an under 18 player, spent some time in the ruck and understands that particular role.”
“And Zac Smith, we're looking at round seven or round eight return for Zac in terms of being available for selection, who’s an AFL quality ruckman.”
Although the review of the Round 3 game had identified areas for the team to improve on, Haines said he was plenty to like about the way the side had started the season.
“There are plenty of positives, I think we had 23 inside 50’s to 11, in the last quarter, and we ran the game out really well.”
“We’ve had our opportunities in every game so far this year and we've been in front in the last quarter and had opportunities to win the game but weren’t able to finish two of them off.
“Plenty to work on, but also some things that if we can execute, particularly late in games, a little bit better, then we think we can get the result.
The SUNS will take on Carlton on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium with Gates Open from 6pm and centre bounce at 7:25pm.