Christian Petracca leaves the field injured during Melbourne's clash against Collingwood in round 13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

MELBOURNE star Christian Petracca has been sent to hospital with suspected cracked ribs after being substituted out of the King's Birthday loss to Collingwood at half-time. 

The 28-year-old was kneed in the ribs by Magpies captain Darcy Moore just before the quarter-time siren and sent down into the rooms at the break, before playing under clear duress in the second quarter. 

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The Demons are confident the four-time All-Australian hasn't suffered a punctured lung, but are awaiting scan results to confirm the severity of the injury. 

"He is in hospital. He is just getting a scan at the moment," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said after the 38-point loss on Monday. 

"We think it might be some cracked ribs, but we'll give more information as soon as we get it, but hopefully that's all."

After starting the season 6-2 to stamp itself as a premiership contender in May, Melbourne reaches the bye with seven wins on the board after losing four of its past five games, including alarming performances against West Coast and Fremantle. 


Goodwin remained confident Melbourne can rediscover its best in 2024 and compete for the premiership, despite a poor run of form continuing on Monday with Collingwood winning the tackle count by 20 and clearances by 10 with six premiership players missing.  

"There were things in our game that were a lot better but there were things that we need to work on. Collingwood's pressure was outstanding and we didn't deal with their pressure very well and it made our execution look pretty average at times and we coughed up the ball way too much," Goodwin said. 


"There were things in our game that we took a big step forward, but you sit here with a loss like that and it is hard to say because it's frustrating and I know our supporters want to win. 

"We're optimistic that we're just going through a little patch at the moment that we need to work through and we'll come out the other side. 

"Most teams go through this, we're still very optimistic what's possible as we move forward through this. We are optimistic but we are incredibly disappointed and I know our supporters would be."


Melbourne faces North Melbourne next on June 22 ahead of a crucial clash against Brisbane at the Gabba at the end of the month. 

Collingwood superstar Nick Daicos was substituted out of the game midway through the fourth quarter with a corked shin, ending a frustrating outing for the Brownlow Medal contender, who was held to a season-low 15 disposals and minimal influence by Alex Neal-Bullen. 

Magpies coach Craig McRae expects the 21-year-old to be available this Sunday against North Melbourne, but the club's injury list isn't expected to shrink until after its bye in round 15.

"He got tagged heavily and then he got a corky in his shin, so he will be fine. It is up to others to step up. I wouldn't have thought (he is in doubt for Sunday)," McRae told reporters.


McRae revealed that All-Australian defender Brayden Maynard had to deal with a challenging personal matter this week before he produced a brutal performance to set the tone in the first quarter with his controlled aggression in his first appearance against Melbourne since the qualifying final hit on Angus Brayshaw. 

"He has had a lot going on this week, I won't share the details of that, but off the field it has been really hard for him, so I'm sure he wanted to put on a good performance for stuff that's happened outside of here," McRae said.

"He is a proud man and he played exceptionally well. It is unfortunate what's happened in his private life, but I'll leave it at that."


McRae singled out assistant coach Hayden Skipworth in his post-game press conference for his planning ahead of the clash against Melbourne, before explaining why the Magpies used the 'Three Little Pigs' fable as the theme in round 13. 

"We wanted to make sure our house was made of bricks today," he said. "It wasn't what Melbourne were going to do, it was about how we were going to protect our house, keep it in order."