ST KILDA star Jade Gresham will miss the rest of the season after injuring his right Achilles tendon in the Saints’ 75-point loss to Essendon on Saturday.
The 23-year-old went to ground in the second quarter at Marvel Stadium despite no body contact on him.
Gresham was helped into the rooms and was later spotted wearing a moon boot and using crutches.
“He’ll be out for nine months. He’s popped his Achilles,” St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said after the game.
“It’s pretty tough for him. He missed a lot of footy towards the back end with a stress fracture (in his back) which was very unusual for a player of his size. He was just starting to build and he cops an injury and he’ll be out for the rest of the year.”
Gresham was drafted at pick No.18 in 2015 and was lining up in his 95th career game.
Hard nut Zak Jones left the ground late in the match after hurting his right ankle. The club doesn’t know yet how severe the injury is.
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“He’s rolled his ankle or got it caught, but to what level we’re not completely sure yet,” Ratten said.
Those losses made a dismal display even worse, and the coach didn’t mince his words.
“I think everyone was embarrassed and everyone should be,” Ratten said.
The coach wants to see his side respond ahead of a difficult stretch, with games against West Coast, Richmond and Port Adelaide.
“We can’t go and hide. We’ve got to be together. The only way we can get through a performance like that is to get closer, and maybe to be a bit more honest,” Ratten said.
“Maybe tonight we lost a bit of trust and faith in each other, which when you do that, you become reactive and second to the ball. This will be the challenge for us.”
Ruckman Rowan Marshall managed more than three quarters in a VFL practice match against Essendon on Saturday and is in line to return from a stress injury in a foot.
“It’ll be a good conversation about where he’s at and what we can do and can we play him and what are the risks? It’s alright to bring them back but we don’t want them to get injured (again)…he might be ready to go, but we’ll just wait and see,” Ratten said.
Meanwhile, Bombers coach Ben Rutten was delighted after posting his first win in the role.
“We’ve been working really hard on playing more of a disciplined brand of footy…our ability to stick to the way we want to play was really pleasing,” Rutten said.
He is hopeful Mason Redman’s right hamstring concern isn’t major.
“Redman had a slight hamstring. I don’t think he’s ever done one before. He played the second quarter with it, so hopefully that’s a good sign that it’s not a significant one. It may just be some tightness,” Rutten said.
Essendon captain Dyson Heppell may be available to return from a back complaint next Thursday against a rampant Sydney.
“Heppell trained today. He’ll do a bit more footy stuff tomorrow. He’s on the mend…but it’s too early to call if he’ll play. The signs are looking good. We’re really hopeful we’ll get him back,” Rutten said.
Bombers fans would have been excited about how their crop of young guns played and Rutten shared that sentiment, not putting a ceiling on 200cm wingman Nik Cox.
“We weren’t sure what we were going to get from (Archie) Perkins and (Alec) Waterman in particular,” Rutten said.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to get from Cox still. We’ve seen him in a couple of games, but I don’t think any of us know what he’s capable of doing.”