Rory Thompson (right) has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Media
Rory Thompson (right) has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury. Picture: Jono Searle/AFL Media

Suns lose key defender Rory Thompson for a year

THE Suns have struck disaster just weeks from the start of the AFL season, with key defender Rory Thompson ruled out for the year with a serious knee injury.

Gold Coast's worst fears were realised on Saturday morning when scans confirmed Thompson had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during Friday morning's training session.

Suns football manager Jon Haines said the club was rallying around the 27-year-old.

"It's unfortunate for Rory as he'd put together a really strong preseason, which has seen him complete the majority of the program," Haines said.

"Rory is a much-loved member of our playing group. We'll make sure the Gold Coast family will support him thoroughly throughout the recovery process.

"After playing 17 games last season and having some great consistency throughout the preseason we were looking forward to Rory playing a key role for the club down back this year.

"As an entire club, we'll make sure we get behind Rory to help him get through the next 12 months."

It's a huge blow to Gold Coast, who were looking to Thompson more than ever following the departure of former tall defender Steven May to Melbourne at the end of last year.

The injury leaves the Suns mulling over whether to roll out two completely new defensive units, likely to be recruits Sam Collins and ex-Port Adelaide defender Jack Hombsch, who will play his first JLT Series game for the club this Sunday against the Swans.

Swingman Sam Day could provide another good option for Gold Coast given his experience down back and the added depth the Suns have in their tall forward stocks through Chris Burgess.

Day has been open about his desire to play forward, but Gold Coast may be left with no choice given the relative young age and inexperience of many others on the list.

For Thompson, it's another devastating hit to his career.

The 103-game foundation Sun has battled injury throughout his previous eight seasons with Gold Coast but looked to have finally overcome his issues last year.

Thompson had his best preseason leading into 2018 and was a pillar in defence while taking on the opposition's biggest forwards.

Among his feats was keeping Sydney's Lance Franklin goalless in round 18, one of just two games the forward didn't kick a major.