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‘Suspected ACL’: Tigers fearing the worst for Rance

RICHMOND is expecting its worst fears to be realised, with star defender Alex Rance suffering what the club believes is a “suspected ACL” injury on Thursday night.

The five-time All Australian left the field late in the third quarter of the team’s 33-point win over Carlton after landing awkwardly on his right leg in a marking contest.

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Rance’s knee looked to buckle upon landing, with the Richmond premiership player immediately taken from the field in pain by the club’s doctors.

“Initial signs don’t look too good.”

– Rance#AFLBluesTigers

— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 21, 2019

Speaking after the game, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said the early prognosis was grim for the club’s mainstay down back.

“It’s probably a suspected ACL at this point,” Hardwick said.

“It’s incredibly disappointing, but measure of the man – you wouldn’t know it by his demeanour. He’s such an incredible person first and foremost.

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“It’s going to be disappointing if it is (an ACL). He’s an incredible player and you hate to see those players go out of the game.

“We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best, but it’s looking dire at this stage.”

Hurt, but humour still intact. Dip the lid to Alex Rance #AFLBluesTigers

— Michael Willson (@MichaelCWillson) March 21, 2019

Playing in his 200th game, Rance went straight to the dressing rooms after hurting his knee, but returned to the bench to see out the match with ice heavily strapped to the injury.

However, despite the club holding grave concerns about the scans he will undertake in the coming days, the Tigers do not believe it will ruin their premiership hopes.

Jack Riewoldt consoles Alex Rance after the match. Picture: Michael Willson

“Of course, it’s a challenge,” Hardwick said.

“He’s obviously a champion of the game and he’s one of the best full-backs I’ve ever seen … but these things can be overcome.

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“It’s disappointing to lose such a fantastic player, but it also provides an opportunity for someone else to get some games under their belt. We’ll get to find a player.

“Are they going to be to Alex Rance’s standard? They’re certainly not going to be straightaway. It’s very hard to replace Alex Rance. But it will give someone an opportunity.”

Rance leads the team off the field following his 200th match. Picture: Getty Images