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AFL News: Petracca's nightmare injury toll revealed, Pies share love with Maynard after tough week

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11th June, 2024
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Melbourne star Christian Petracca has undergone surgery, after being sent to hospital following a brutal knock in the Demons’ King’s Birthday loss to Collingwood.

Petracca copped a knee to the ribs from Magpies captain Darcy Moore on the stroke of quarter time at the MCG; while he attempted to play through the pain, he was subbed out and hospitalised at half time.

According to Nine’s Tom Morris, even coming back on was remarkable, with Petracca reported to have suffered severe internal injuries from the blow, including four broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and a small lung puncture.

The 2021 Norm Smith Medallist’s recovery period will be determined in coming days, but it seems inevitable Petracca is set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

The injury toll is set to intensify debate over whether the Demons should have permitted him to return to the field, with Fox Footy’s David King immediately questioning the call after the match.

“Are we comfortable with them sending their marquee player back out on the ground when he’s clearly impacted?” King asked.

“He’s on a stretcher bed off to hospital at the end of the game – a game that was already slipping out of their grasp as it was.

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“I sometimes think, if that’s my son going back out on the ground, the field of battle, to win one given game, to take that risk…”

“We put the players first at all times and say we’re looking after their health and their wellbeing, short-term, long-term. Well, I just think today the game took precedence over, possibly, the welfare [of Petracca].

“In a game that was already sliding, why risk him?”

However, fellow panellist Jason Dunstall vehemently disagreed, accusing King of taking ‘pot-shots’ at the Demons’ medical staff.

“I think you’re being unfair – I’ll back in the medical staff, who are incredibly highly rated professionals that are the best in the business, that wouldn’t take unnecessary risks with a player’s health,” he said.

“Christian might have said ‘I think I can manage the pain, put a jab in there, maybe I can go out there and see what will happen, I’m not going to do any more damage, I’m not going to put myself in a position where I’m actually going to kill myself’.

“I just don’t like taking pot-shots from afar at medical staff, who I think are very, very good at what they do.”

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The Demons have a chance to regroup with this week’s bye following a disastrous fortnight, as they attempt to rebound in the second half of the year.

Christian Petracca leaves the MCG with a rib injury during Melbourne's loss to Collingwood.

Christian Petracca leaves the MCG with a rib injury during Melbourne’s loss to Collingwood. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

‘Been really hard’: Pies share the love with Maynard after difficult week

Brayden Maynard has had a lot to deal with, even before Melbourne fans repeatedly reminded the Collingwood defender on Monday what they think of him.

Maynard was high among the Magpies’ best in the King’s Birthday AFL blockbuster at the MCG as they easily beat the Demons by 38 points.

Every time the hard-nosed backman was involved in play, Melbourne fans booed him.

Collingwood coach Craig McRae also revealed post-match that Maynard had endured unspecified off-field stress in the days before the game.

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The last time these teams played, Maynard’s collision with Angus Brayshaw in the qualifying final last year led to a controversial tribunal case, where the Collingwood player was cleared and went on to play in their grand final victory.

It was the latest in a succession of concussions for Brayshaw and eventually ended his playing career.

Amid the obvious on-field focus on Maynard for this game, there also had been matters for him to deal with in his private life.

“He’s had a lot going on this week – I won’t share the details of it – but off the field it’s been really hard for him,” McRae said of Maynard.

“So I’m sure he wanted to put on a good performance for the stuff that’s happened outside of here.

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“He’s a proud man and he played exceptionally well. We love him.

“It’s unfortunate what’s happened in his private life, but I will leave it at that.”

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said they had not discussed Maynard pre-game.

The player himself noted Collingwood fans had given him plenty of support during the game.

“I cop it a little bit, especially when I have the ball,” he told Channel Seven.

“But to my fans, they come over the top, like they always do.”

Asked if he thrived amid the boos, Maynard laughed and replied: “We all do, don’t we? We love it when the fans get involved, but I guess it’s all part of the game.

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“If the fans don’t get involved, then what’s the game?”

(AAP)

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