Injured Hunt confirms worst fears - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injured Hunt confirms worst fears

By Roger Vaughan 14/03/2009 02:24:51 PM Comments (0)

Geelong premiership defender Josh Hunt's 27th birthday turned sour after scans confirmed his AFL season is potentially over before it even starts.

The scans on Saturday showed Hunt ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee as he went to ground in the first quarter of the NAB Cup pre-season final the night before at Etihad Stadium.

Hunt will need reconstructive surgery that will most likely put him out of action for the year.

The Cats have not decided whether they will consider the radical reconstruction procedure that Nick Malceski underwent last year.

Malceski also ruptured an ACL during the pre-season, but a new synthetic ligament meant the Sydney defender was able to return to the side in round eight.

"That's the risk you take, it wouldn't have mattered if we were playing in this game or another game," coach Mark Thompson said post-match.

"It looks like he's done his knee, at this early stage, without knowing all the scans and having 100 per cent proof.

"It looks like ... he's done his anterior cruciate ligament, he's upset."

Hunt's injury in the first term was the only sour note of the night, as Geelong mauled Collingwood by 76 points.

Thompson and best-afield midfielder Joel Selwood later admitted the Cats were determined to win this grand final.

Last September, they were strong favourites to win their second-straight regular season premiership, but Hawthorn upset them in the grand final.

"We made our intent known pretty early in the week that we didn't want to get to another grand final and lose it," Thompson said.

"So we put a fair bit of work into the training and the tactical side of it, the players sent a pretty good, strong message too - that they were here to play.

"It was fantastic watching the game of footy, even (as) a non-player, it was excellent football."

Geelong were outstanding in the second term, kicking six goals to one behind and blowing the match apart.

"The whole team was pretty awesome as far as what we let the opposition do and what we were able to do ourselves," Thompson said.

Forward Tom Lonergan spent some time in defence late in the game and Thompson said that was an option during the regular season.

With Hunt and captain Tom Harley sidelined, the Cats will have to re-cast their defence.

"It's probably the best game he's played," Thompson said of Lonergan's grand final performance.

Thompson also noted veteran backman Darren Milburn had another strong game and added Harley might be back soon.

"Tommy may not be that long and the old 'Dasher' (Milburn), the old boy, played well again," he said.

Generally, the Cats are well-placed for their round-one match against the Hawks.

Thompson said they had learnt their lessons from this time last year.

"It's definitely a shock when you play into September for the first time, we were a little bit unprepared last year," he said.

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