Joel Jeffrey sidelined for remainder of AFL season

Joel Jeffrey sidelined for remainder of AFL season

The news that Joel Jeffrey had been ruled for the rest of the season tempered Gold Coast Suns’ celebrations over the re-signing of Jack Lukosius.

The Gold Coast Suns have lost Joel Jeffrey for the rest of the AFL season, with the talented young forward having undergone surgery on his right knee.

What was thought to be a minor injury suffered in the Suns’ win over Adelaide last Sunday proved a lot worse than expected, with scans revealing lateral meniscus tear that has ended his campaign.

“It’s really unfortunate,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said on Thursday.

“Joel was adding something to our side and getting comfortable at the level.

“It’s one we were really surprised by given it wasn’t too sore (after the game), but when he walked in on Monday hobbling, my heart sank because I was just disappointed for him because he’s done a lot of work to get to where he is.”

News of Jeffrey’s season-ending injury came hot on the heels of teammate Wil Powell’s horrific ankle break and dislocation from the same match that also ended his 2022 campaign.

“You just want your young lads playing,” Dew said.

In better news for the in-form Suns ahead of Sunday’s away clash against Port Adelaide, Jack Lukosius has signed a four-year contract extension.

“I couldn’t be happy to commit for four more years at the Suns,” said 21-year-old Lukosius, the second selection in the 2018 AFL Draft.

“I’m really grateful that they’ve shown the faith in me to play here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“We’ve put in some hard work over the past few years. We’re starting to see some rewards now and I think that’s really exciting.”

Currently sidelined with a knee injury, the versatile Lukosius is set to return in the next two weeks.

“I’m just keen to get back out on the field and hopefully play my role in taking the club forward to where we want to go,” he said.

The Suns aren’t getting distracted by suggestions that their AFL finals hopes are on the line in Sunday’s clash at Adelaide Oval.

With his side just four points outside the top eight with more than a third of the regular season remaining, Dew was surprised by talk that this weekend’s battle had been deemed a “do-or-die” encounter.

“We’ve got nine games to go,” Dew said.

“A strength of ours this year has been keeping our eyes pretty low to the upcoming weekend.

“We’re going to continue with our theme. That’s been working. We’re definitely not looking ahead.

“I’ve got good experience across the league over a number of years.

“I’ve been guilty of that as a player and it doesn’t help you one bit. I can certainly educate the group on the impacts of that.”

The Suns, who are aiming for a fourth successive 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. The last few weeks we’ve kept an eye on them and they’ve been building and they’re back to their best.”

The Power has won six of its past eight games, including a 23-point victory over the Sydney Swans last Saturday.

“They really did manhandle Sydney on the weekend, and that’s hard to do,” Dew said.

“It’s a great test for us. A big away crowd, we’re looking forward to. They play a hard style of footy.

“Our guys are pretty keen to get over there. We’ve got real belief, not false belief, and that’s why we’re looking forward to Sunday.”

Suns star Matt Rowell echoed Dew’s “game-by-game” sentiments despite his intense desire to be part of the first Suns side in the club’s history to play finals football.

“We want to win finals and we know we’ve got to win a lot, but we’re just looking at one week at a time at the moment,” Rowell said.

“That’s all we can do – focus on who we’ve got this week and prepare as best as we can.”

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