K rock Football

Hawks “distraught” at Garth injury

Drysdale forward Jarrod Garth has suffered a season-ending knee injury. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

DRYSDALE is reeling, and the BFL premiership race has been turned on its head at the news Jarrod Garth will play no part in the 2021 season after suffering a serious knee injury at training.

The Hawks were hopeful the veteran spearhead, who kicked 66 goals from 14 matches in his first season with the club in 2019, had only suffered a severe hyperextension and some bone bruising.

However, scans on Friday confirmed the damage to the 35-year former Geelong rookie was a lot more significant.

“He’s torn the ACL, he’s got a fracture in his leg, he’s got cartilage damage – so there’s a fair bit of damage in there,” coach Luke Matthews said.

“You don’t expect damage to that extent on a footy field – more in a car accident or something like that.

“We’re all distraught, and we’re all devastated and shocked by it.

Garthy’s a well-credentialed player, but he’s also one of the senior figures of our playing group.”

BFL: INS & OUTS

Matthews said the incident that caused the damage to the former Bell Park star happened in the closing stages of training last Monday.

“It was just match simulation – a stoppage drill into a forward entry,” Matthews said.

“He took the mark and got nudged a little bit, and he landed on the leg.

“That’s football; unfortunately – bizarre things happen.

“It can be the best game in the world, football, but it can also be the cruellest game, as we’ve found out this week.”

Matthews says it’s too soon to be talking about whether the injury will end Garth’s impressive career.

“Talking to him on the phone, he’s devastated – like we all are – and he’s probably in a bit of shock,” Matthews said.

“We’ll let him have some space at the moment and work out some things and worry about that further down the track.”

BFL: 2021 PRACTICE MATCHES

Garth’s absence will force Matthews and his coaching staff into a reshuffle of their forward structure.

“In some way, we’ve got to try and turn it into a positive, and I think we can,” Matthews said.

“As good of a player he is and how important Garthy is to our line-up, it will change things up and make us less predictable, I think.

“We’ve got a deep midfield list; we’ve got some players who could play a forward role.

“If we can mix things up and be less predictable to opposition teams, it’s going to hold us in good stead.”

Drysdale suffered a loss to Essendon and District League outfit on Saturday.

The Hawks have practice matches to come against Leopold (March 13) and Cobden (March 20) before opening their 2021 season against Barwon Heads on Easter Saturday (April 3).

Twitter: @tom_king79