Woodville-West Torrens recruit Tom Gray will miss the next 12 months after seriously injuring his knee against Norwood in Sunday’s Second Semi-Final at Adelaide Oval.
Forced from the field midway during the first quarter, the former Magpie will undergo a conventional reconstruction on his left knee after damaging his Anterior Cruciate Ligament in a ground level contest against the Redlegs.
The 22-year-old immediately called for assistance and was unable to rejoin the play as the Eagles succumbed to Norwood by 17 points in the second match of the Semi-Final double header.
”He’s obviously quite upset about it and it probably won’t sink in until we start playing (in the Preliminary Final) next Sunday,” Eagles chief executive Luke Powell said.
”For a kid who was just coming into some good form, it’s really disappointing for him. We will certainly miss the forward line pressure that he applies.”
Powell said Gray won’t be rushed in his recovery, given he has the majority of his Macca’s League career ahead of him.
”He’s such a good team man – all the boys will get around him,” Powell said.
”We’ll do everything we can for him, he’s at an age where we don’t have to rush him so if we get him back before the end of next season it will be a nice bonus.”
Small forward Jake Johansen – who has missed the first two finals with a calf complaint – looms as the most logical replacement for the Preliminary Final against North Adelaide on Sunday.
Gray is the second consecutive Eagles player to be ruled out for the year in as many weeks after ruckman Marc Borholm (pictured celebrating with Gray above) fractured his foot against Sturt in the Qualifying Final.
North Adelaide got through its physically taxing encounter with Sturt in the First Semi-Final with a clean bill of health.
Roosters veteran Leigh Ryswyk (ribs) is still unable to be considered for selection but could be a slight chance for the Macca’s League Grand Final should his team defeat the Eagles in the Preliminary Final on Sunday.
Ruckman James Craig is also working his way back to fitness from a hamstring strain while forward Mark Quinn injured his wrist in Saturday’s Reserves Second Semi-Final win against Norwood.
Norwood is in the fortunate position of not having any significant injury concerns ahead of its weekend off before the Macca’s League Grand Final, with key defender Patrick Levicki nursing some quad soreness after the Reserves Second Semi-Final on Saturday.
CHIEF SANFL WRITER