NT Thunder Football Club can confirm that 2019 NEAFL contracted player Sam Smith has undergone scans to assess damage to his left knee following an injury he sustained in the first quarter of the TIO NTFL Men’s Premier League game between the Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts on Saturday.
The scans indicate that there is damage is to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but until Smith sees the club doctor in the coming days, the extent of the injury and an expected plan of action cannot be established.
Smith, who turns 23-years-old on New Year’s Eve and was a big coup for Thunder’s 2019 season did not return to the field on Saturday afternoon after a rather innocuous incident for the usually high-flying defender.
NT Thunder Manager Andrew Hodges said the Club is right behind Smith and there is no doubt his professionalism would see him overcome this challenge.
“As is often the case with these types of injuries they are unlucky and cruel, so we fear for the worst but hope for the best.
“No matter what the final prognosis is, we know the type of character Sam is. He is made of sterner stuff and though he is hugely disappointed both he, his teammates, doctors and the whole footy club will do everything we can to ensure he recovers and prepares to come back bigger and stronger.
“We hold him in the utmost regard and his presence and jovial nature whether in recovery mode, or playing will be a huge part of NT Thunder in 2019,” he said.
Southern Districts Men’s Premier League Head Coach Shannon Rusca said the Crocs would work alongside NT Thunder to provide Smith with the best care.
“Southern Districts Football Club is working very closely with NT Thunder and its medical staff to provide Sam with the best attention and pathway required to understand the extent of his injury better.
“His absence on the footy field will be felt far and wide by his teammates and his opponents, which says a lot about the kind of guy he is,” Rusca said.
Both the NT Thunder Football Club and Sothern Districts Football Club ask for understanding around the sensitivity of this announcement and request that Smith’s privacy is respected.
An update will be posted on Friday following the meeting with the Territory Sportsmedicine club doctor and physio.