In what has tarnished the opening match of the 2019 AFL season, Richmond champion, Alex Rance, has suffered an ACL injury and will require a knee reconstruction. Scans on Friday morning confirmed Richmond’s fears, meaning Rance will now miss the entire season. The injury cruelly robs the star defender of any celebrations for his 200th game.
How it happened
In the third quarter of Richmond’s victory over Carlton, Rance landed awkwardly after engaging in a marking contest. Known for his durability in the face of injuries, Rance was playing in his 65th consecutive match. Since round 8 of the 2014 season, Rance has only missed two games for the Tigers.
Following the incident, Rance was quite clearly distressed and in some pain. He had to be taken from the field quickly and was assessed promptly by the doctors. He emerged from the bunker with ice on his knee and took no further part in the match. Richmond doctors and support staff feared the worse from the outset, and unfortunately for the Tiger Army, such fears have been confirmed.
Rance shows class
Despite suffering the most debilitating injury of his career, Rance showed little sign of dejection as he applauded his team from the bench, showing some serious class and poise. At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the game hung in the balance with Richmond ahead by only 13 points, having led by over 5 goals at the first change. However, Richmond showed their class and kicked away, eventually recording a 33 point win over the Blues. The Blues can take some positives out of the loss, with star recruit, Sam Walsh, recording 24 disposals on debut.
Where to for Richmond?
Richmond has solid depth and a plethora of backline players to help fill the void left by Rance. However, there is no doubt that Rance’s absence will be sorely missed this season. He has been crucial to their backline development and is regarded as one of the best defenders of the modern era. While Richmond will likely still feature deep into September, Rance’s injury is a massive setback to the Tigers’ premiership chances.