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Richmond's Rance out for season with ACL injury

Sport

Scans have confirmed that Richmond defender Alex Rance ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during last night’s season opener against Carlton, knocking him out of the competition for the rest of the year.

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Rance was injured during a marking contest in the third quarter of the game, which Richmond went on to win by 33 points.

The five-time All Australian will undergo surgery in the coming days and miss the rest of the season, according to a statement released by the club this morning.

“We’re really disappointed for Alex that he’ll spend an extended period of time out of the game, he’s a wonderful player and fantastic leader of our team,” said Richmond football manager Neil Balme.

“Alex, to his credit has been incredibly positive since the injury occurred, and we’ll continue to rally around him in the coming days and throughout his rehab process.

“While we’ll miss his on-field contribution this season, we know he’ll apply the same dedication and discipline to his rehab and recovery, and we will continue to provide our ongoing support to him.”

Coach Damien Hardwick said some teammates were in tears on last night as the severity of Rance’s injury became apparent.

But he pointed to West Coast, who lost ruckman Nic Naitanui to a knee reconstruction, Andrew Gaff to suspension and Brad Sheppard (hamstring) on the way to last year’s premiership.

“Last year, West Coast – Naitanui goes down,” Hardwick said post-match.

“These things can be overcome.”

He nominated young defender Ryan Garthwaite, who played two senior games last season, as a teammate who could take Rance’s place.

“Your heart sinks because you’ve been through a lot with this guy, been through a journey,” he said.

“Then to have it taken away from you (in) round one, it is disappointing.

“We walk away with four points, but we certainly walk away disappointed – we’ve lost a warrior.

“It’s not to say they don’t feel pain – I have guys in tears, knowing they’ve possibly lost a comrade for 12 months.”

– with AAP

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