Greater Western Sydney Giants midfielder Josh Kelly has suffered a “horrible” head knock during Saturday’s AFL match against the Fremantle Dockers at Perth Stadium.
Late in the second quarter of the round 14 fixture, Kelly was in the process of tackling Dockers star Sean Darcy when his head collided with the right knee of teammate Shane Mumford.
The dazed 25-year-old remained sprawled on the turf as play continued, and was immediately treated by medics who rushed onto the field.
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“Nasty knock there for Kelly,” Fox Footy commentator Adam Papalia muttered as the 2017 All-Australian was helped into the sheds.
Fox Footy presenter Sarah Jones said: “It’s really sickening … we understand he is being assessed by club doctors at the moment.
“It’s just horrible.”
Brisbane Lions great Jonathan Brown responded: “He was probably knocked out straight away … but the concern is the blood out of the mouth.
“Speaking from experience, whenever you have blood out of the mouth, it’s a big concern of a potential break in the jaw.
“Fingers crossed it’s only a concussion, and that’s it.”
AFL LIVE SCORE S : Round 14 match centres
Early in the third quarter, the Giants confirmed Kelly would not take part in the remainder of the must-win clash.
At halftime, Giants coach Leon Cameron conceded: “It probably doesn’t look good; he’s having an assessment now, so probably the odds are of him coming back on not great.
“That was disappointing; I thought he was doing really good, but now other guys can step up.”
Giants captain Stephen Coniglio told Fox Footy: “He was pretty groggy walking off at halftime … we’ll see how he goes. Fingers crossed he’s all right.”
Later on Saturday evening, Fox Sports reporter Tom Morris confirmed Kelly would not feature in the Giants’ next fixture againdt Calrton.
Kelly has played 129 AFL games and scored 77 goals since he signed with the Giants in 2014.
GWS went on to claim a convincing 14.7 (91) to 8.5 (53) victory, jumping up to ninth spot on the AFL ladder — it was Fremantle’s largest defeat of the season.
Playing in just his second AFL game, Giants young gun Jake Riccardi kicked four goals, 12 disposals, nine marks and a behind.
“This bloke looks like Wayne Carey … he has been outstanding,” Brown said.
“I can’t think of a key forward who has been able to burst onto the scene like this early in his career over the last few years.”
ABC Grandstand broadcaster Ben Cameron tweeted: “For all of their top-end talent, the GWS Giants have found a player in Jake Riccardi. Compliments what they have in their forward line already too. Diamond in the rough.”
Reigning Coleman Medal winner Jeremy Cameron also impressed for the Giants, managing four majors, 18 disposals, two behinds and eight marks.
Meanwhile, Fremantle key forward Matt Taberner kicked a goal to increase his streak to 13 consecutive games.
Radio presenter Adam White tweeted: “Who knows why it’s taken so long for this sort of football from the Giants to return. But there’ll be a lot of other AFL teams that would’ve been really hoping they didn’t discover it before the end of the season. While it’s only one performance, it could change everything.”
For their next fixtures, Fremantle will take on the Richmond Tigers at Metricon Stadium on Wednesday evening, while the Giants will face Carlton at the same venue on Thursday.