Simon Goodwin admits MELBOURNE will walk away from its win against the Swans “a little bit empty” after Jake Melksham’s suspected ACL injury.
The 31-year-old came from the ground in the third quarter unassisted after jarring his knee jostling at the back of a marking contest with Robbie Fox.
He was subbed out of the game and Goodwin admitted the initial prognosis was not promising.
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“Yeah, we fear the worst but we hope for the best,” Goodwin said.
“Looking at an ACL which is really sad for Melky and takes a really big dent in the day.
“I’ve coached Jake for a long time, 14 years, and he’s been craving the opportunity to play in a successful team for finals footy.
“It’s a bit of a dampener on our day. There’s no doubt we walk away a little bit empty missing Jake.”
Melksham has played 14 games this season, his most in a year since 2020, and had another two goals against the Swans on Sunday.
It’s a dent for Melbourne’s forward-line plans going into the finals but Goodwin is hopeful he will have the cavalry to cover Melksham’s absence.
“He means so much to our footy club and he’s done an enormous job for us this year and he’s actually improved as a player,” Goodwin said.
“We’ll wait and see what the scan says. That’s the emotional part of our game that we find difficult.
“Today we went with a different mix for the first time with Joel Smith, Melky, Fritsch and Jacob van Rooyen. It was looking quite dynamic but now, we’ve got to have another look at what’s possible.”
Goodwin won’t be short for options with Tom McDonald and Brodie Grundy kicking eight goals between them in Casey Demons’ big win over North Melbourne in the VFL.
Bayley Fritsch also came off with a slight injury during the third quarter but returned to the field to kick two key goals in the final term.
“He just rolled his foot halfway through the third quarter but came back on and seems fine,” Goodwin said.
“He’ll need some assessment but we’re confident he’ll be right. It’s something fresh today … but we’re pretty sure he’ll be okay.”
SYDNEY trio Nick Blakey, Tom McCartin and James Rowbottom all came from the field against the Dees but were able to play out the match.
Collingwood rule Daicos out for final | 00:55
COLLINGWOOD will enter its qualifying final without Nick Daicos after the club confirmed he’d been ruled out for the match as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.
Daicos has missed the Magpies’ past three matches after suffering a hairline fracture in his right knee during the club’s shock Round 21 loss to Hawthorn.
But any hope Collingwood fans had he was ahead of schedule was dashed on Friday night, with the Magpies confirming to Fox Footy’s Jon Ralph that Daicos wouldn’t start running for another seven to 10 days. He would then have to progress through various stages before being considered for a return to the team.
There’s also a chance Collingwood will feature in the first of the four week-one finals, which would almost certainly be held on a Thursday night. Should that happen, Daicos would have no chance to be fit in time for that clash.
However, should the Pies win their first final without Daicos and have the semi-final weekend off, the young superstar would have ample time to prepare for a preliminary final.
Meanwhile, skipper Darcy Moore is on track to return from a hamstring issue for the qualifying final.
Moore, who was subbed out against Geelong in Round 22 with a hamstring injury, trained well with the club’s VFL squad on Friday and will partake in match simulation next week.
Defender Nathan Murphy (glute) and small forward Beau McCreery (suspension) are also expected to be welcomed back into Collingwood’s team for the qualifying final.
St Kilda Saints Press Conference | 05:08
ST KILDA will take a cautious approach with the versatile Josh Battle, who suffered a concussion against the Brisbane Lions.
Despite suffering the knock in the second quarter after a collision with Lions forward Eric Hipwood, Battle was cleared to continue before being substituted at the start of the third quarter.
“The question will be asked why (wasn’t Battle replaced until) after halftime,” Saints coach Ross Lyon said.
“Our doctors assessed him, did the SCAT test, and it was clear and then he went south from there, and then they tapped him out, so that’s the reason for that.”
Lyon said Battle would be assessed before the finals series, but was adamant Hunter Clark would be “fine” despite suffering a cork.
The Saints mentor was also confident that injured pair Max King and Seb Ross would return for the finals series.
“(King) jammed up his knee last week, so he’s a bit sore, but he’s been able to do a lot of work. Barring mishaps over the next two weeks of training, he’ll be available to play, which is exciting,” he said.
“We think Seb Ross (hamstring) will be available, so we’re reasonably healthy at this point.”
PORT ADELAIDE’S premiership tilt is set for a major boost with key quartet Charlie Dixon, Trent McKenzie, Todd Marshall and Scott Lycett all in the frame to play the qualifying final against the Brisbane Lions.
The Power finished the home-and-away season in third spot after a hard-fought 31-point win over Richmond at Adelaide Oval, the result setting up a clash against the second-placed Lions at the Gabba in the first week of the finals.
Marshall was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s line-up with hip soreness, but is a certainty to face Brisbane, with coach Ken Hinkley quietly confident the pre-finals bye will help Lycett (knee), Dixon (foot) and McKenzie (knee) regain fitness.
Port Adelaide Press Conference | 08:32
“It gives everyone a chance to be available,” Hinkley said.
“Todd missed (against the Tigers), but he’ll certainly be available.
“We got Lycett back playing football (in the SANFL) on Saturday, which is a great result for us.
“We’re going to be in a pretty healthy position come the first week of the finals.
“It’s a great time to refresh and recharge for the players and coaches.
“The nervousness and anxiety starts to build pretty quickly, you’re coming into a big part of the season, but we look forward to that.
“I’m not frightened, it’s a bit scary playing finals but we’ve earnt the right and we’ve just got to embrace the opportunities.
“We just didn’t happen to do it this year … we’ve got a lot of experience.”
Lycett gathered eight disposals and had eight hit-outs in the SANFL in his first game since having minor knee surgery following Port’s loss to Collingwood in round 19.
“I don’t think he was best on ground, but he got through and that’s the important part for us to just get some minutes into him,” Hinkley said.
“We’ll build him up now … he’s really important to us.
“You saw not that long back that he came in and played four or five weeks of great ruckman footy.
“Sam (Hayes) and Dante (Visentini) have been holding up for us pretty well and if (Lycett) is not right we’ll be OK, but the reality is we’d like to see Scooter train well over the next couple of weeks.”
— NCA NewsWire
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