Lions hopeful Smith not latest AFLW ACL

Ed Jackson |

Taylor Smith appears to have avoided becoming the latest victim of the AFLW’s ACL curse, with hopes high the ruck has injured an ankle and not her knee in the Brisbane Lions’ big win over Carlton.

Smith went down in agony in the fourth quarter of the 35-point victory over the Blues at Metricon Stadium, clutching her right leg.

She was assisted off the field with many fearing the worst but post-match coach Craig Starcevich revealed the surprising diagnosis.

“You never know until you scan them but, yeah, hopefully it’s just a garden variety rolled ankle,” the premiership-winning coach said.

Richmond vice-captain Harriet Cordner tore her ACL in Richmond’s loss to Fremantle last Saturday while three of the game’s biggest names — Lions star Kate Lutkins, league best and fairest Bri Davey and All-Australian Isabel Huntingon — all suffered season-ending injuries in round one.

Tuesday’s game was the first in Brisbane’s AFLW history without grand final best-on-ground player Lutkins.

In her absence teenage debutante Zimmorlei Farquharson stole the limelight, leaving Starcevich happy with how his team had overcome the loss of Lutkins and dealt with a disrupted preparation that included two COVID-19 enforced postponements since their opening-round defeat to Adelaide.

“We need to find out what the depth of our list actually looks like,” he said.

“You get an opportunity through the adversity of what we’ve just been through … it’s good to test out the depth of your list, no doubt.”

The Lions have a short turnaround before Saturday’s home game against Geelong in Maroochydore with Dakota Davidson (foot) and Sophie Conway (COVID-19) both expected to return for the premiers.

“Based on what we’ve done in the last week, anyone who sort of trains once is in,” Starcevich said.

“That’s basically what we’ve had to do.

“I know some of the some of the Melbourne AFLW clubs have had four or five go down in dribs and drabs but to have 14 affected, at various degrees, but to have a big chunk go down in one hit, and the Bulldogs are doing it the same at the moment, that’s sort of uncharted and difficult to manage.”