The Greater Western Sydney Giants will have to contend without one of their most senior players for the remainder of the season.
GWS defender Lachlan Keeffe suffered a season-ending ACL injury late in his side’s win over Essendon on Saturday.
Keeffe will fly to Melbourne on Wednesday to consult with a leading knee specialist and is set for surgery later in the week.
It’s a tragic blow for the 31-year-old, who injured the same ACL while playing for Collingwood in 2012.
“It’s obviously devastating news for Lachie and we’re throwing our arms around him,” GWS head of medical Cullan Ball said on Monday.
“He was injured very late in the game and assessed following the match.
“Further assessment on Sunday indicated there may be an issue with the ACL and subsequent scans revealed Lachie will require a knee reconstruction.”
One of only six players on the Giants’ list over the age of 30, Keeffe signed a one-year contract extension with the club just last week.
He has played every game so far this season and his omission from the side will force coach Leon Cameron to reshuffle his backline ahead of the Giants’ clash with the Tigers.
The Giants have recovered from a lacklustre start to the season, stringing together three wins from their last four outings.
“The start wasn’t great, we know that,” Cameron said after his side’s round eight victory.
“(But) I think we’ve been really consistent for most of the year. Sometimes that doesn’t always add up to wins and we’ll continue to have that.
“That’s why these close games are really fantastic for our young group because it gives that nourishment for more and more and more.”
Saturday’s clash against the defending premiers will prove a litmus test for Cameron’s men, who are hoping to return to finals football in 2021 after missing the eight last season.
“We’ve got a massive challenge next week against Richmond but (there are) some really good signs,” he said.