GOLD Coast has been dealt a savage ahead of its must-win match against Essendon on Friday night, with star midfielder Charlie Rowbottom to miss with injury.
Rowbottom twisted her ankle late in last Friday’s win over Greater Western Sydney, with scans confirming she would be unavailable to face the Bombers in Mackay.
The 20-year-old will speak to a surgeon about her options for recovery, with the hope of keeping the door open for a return should Gold Coast qualify for finals.
A win against Essendon could see the Suns finish as high as fourth, while a loss could have them tumbling out of the eight.
Rowbottom is in the midst of another magnificent season, averaging 27 disposals a game and winning more contested possessions and clearances than any other player in the competition.
Her combination with breakout midfielder Claudia Whitfort, dynamic run-with player Lucy Single, Richmond recruit Maddy Brancatisano and reliable veteran Alison Drennan has helped the Suns become one of the better midfields in the competition.
Single will return from suspension to face the Bombers, while defender Elise Barwick will miss the match in concussion protocols after a sickening head clash against the Giants.