MELBOURNE AFLW vice-captain Mel Hickey has only her team in mind after suffering a career-threatening injury.
Scans revealed today the Red Cliffs-born 33-year-old had torn her anterior cruciate ligament during the third quarter of the Demons’ 35-point win over Carlton on Sunday.
Hickey was sidelined ahead of Melbourne’s top-of-the-table clash with the Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval in the final round this weekend, in which the winner will secure a place in the AFLW grand final.
While shattered the scans confirmed the worst, Hickey said she wanted to do whatever she could to support her teammates leading into an important match.
“I have so much love and belief for our group of girls and will play any part I can to help,” Hickey told melbournefc.com.au.
“The support I’ve received from the players, coaches and staff – and the fans – has been overwhelming and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
This weekend will be the first AFLW match Hickey has missed after playing all seven matches in the inaugural season and the first six rounds this year.
Melbourne AFLW football operations manager Kimberley Morton described Hickey as a “much-loved figure” at the club.
“She will still play an important role in the lead-up to our final home and away round on Saturday night, and our quest to play in this year’s AFLW Grand Final,” Morton said.
“Mel will be given all the support she needs, as she starts her recovery for 2019.
“We know she will come back bigger and better from this setback next year.”
Six-time VFLW premiership player Hickey was a member of the inaugural All-Australian team and represented Victoria in State of Origin last year and was a marquee signing for the club when the AFLW formed.
The Demons’ 8.9 (57) to 3.4 (22) win over the last-placed Blues on Sunday, built on a dominant 39-1 first quarter, showcased their premiership credentials.
As a result, Melbourne rose from fifth to equal top on points with the Bulldogs, who remained first because of their strong percentage.
Five teams can still qualify for the grand final.
If Melbourne lose to the Bulldogs on Saturday, they can still make it if GWS Giants and Adelaide both lose and the Brisbane Lions don’t overtake them on percentage.
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