Cam Rayner will miss the 2021 AFL season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee.
- Rayner sustained the injury when he landed awkwardly during the Lions’ preseason match against the Suns
- He becomes the latest player to be injured in the single round of preseason matches
- Lions recruit Joe Daniher came through the 28-point win over the Suns unscathed and kicked three goals
Rayner sustained the injury during Monday night’s preseason match against Gold Coast, which the Lions won by 28 points.
He collapsed in agony on the Carrara stadium turf after landing awkwardly on his right knee in the second quarter.
Scans confirmed the 21-year-old had ruptured his ACL, with the club now looking to prepare his recovery program.
“He will see a surgeon in the coming weeks and we will then lay out the next steps from there,” Lions general manager of football Danny Daly said in a statement.
“Our thoughts are with Cam and we will wrap our arms around him and continue to support him as he gets on with his recovery.”
Lions coach Chris Fagan, speaking prior to the confirmation of Rayner’s injury, said the setback would help the former number-one draft pick build character.
“He’ll try and find a way to make the most of this opportunity,” Fagan said.
“They’ll (teammates) be super disappointed for him, there’s no doubt about that, but in another way they’ll probably be inspired to rise to another level, hopefully.
“He is a good man, a very popular teammate. I know he’ll be trying to find a way to influence the group.”
In Rayner’s absence, the Lions overturned a 23-point half-time deficit to run over the Suns, scoring seven goals to none in the third term.
Key recruit Joe Daniher warmed up for the Lions’ round-one clash against Sydney with three goals, while captain Dayne Zorko and Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale were important in the second-half comeback.
Rayner’s knee injury concluded a difficult condensed preseason, with one round of games played over five days.
Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom left the field early in the first quarter on Friday against Richmond with a calf injury.
The first Western Derby of the year also had a big injury count, with Michael Walters (hamstring), Rory Lobb (knee) and Zac Langdon (concussion) all having issues in West Coast’s win over Fremantle on Sunday.