K rock Football

Stephens avoids surgery

Cooper Stephens in action for the Geelong Falcons in 2018. (Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Bartlett)

HIGHLY-rated AFL draft prospect Cooper Stephens has avoided surgery on a broken leg and remains a chance to play again in 2019.

The Geelong Falcons co-captain suffered the break early in last Sunday’s draw against the Dandenong Stingrays in Bendigo, with initial fears that the injury was more serious.

Falcons coach Luke Daffy says the Colac product is remaining upbeat despite the injury, which is likely to sideline him for 10-12 weeks.

“Cooper’s been really, really positive and he’s in a really good headspace,” Daffy said.

“Throughout the summer he’s matured a lot with his leadership skills and as a person.

“I’ve been really impressed at how’s already started to approach the disappointment of his injury and how much he’s looking forward.”

Daffy says he’ll ensure Stephens has a role around the playing group during his time on the sidelines.

“It’s going to be important to keep him involved around the group, too, because school’s finished for Coop and he’ll have a lot of time on his hands.

“He’ll be able to teach some of our developing 17-year-olds a lot.”

Meanwhile, small forward Jay Dahlhaus’s hopes of playing again in 2019 have been boosted following a meeting with his surgeon.

Dahlhaus suffered a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament and some medial ligament damage against the GWV Rebels in Round 2.

“The knee looks a lot more stable than first thought,” Daffy said.

“There’s a possibility that if the rehab goes really well, he could come back really late in the year.

“But, we’ll wait-and-see with Jay on that one … we’ve got to be pretty cautious with him.”

After two losses and a draw in their opening three rounds, the Falcons have a bye and then a week off for Easter ahead of a clash with the Calder Cannons at RAMS Arena on April 27.

Twitter: @tom_king79