ALFW loses two of its brightest stars for rest of season due to knee injuries | AFLW

The AFLW will be without two of its biggest stars for the rest of the season after scans confirmed the worst-case scenarios for Isabel Huntington and Bri Davey, who both suffered ACL injuries during the opening round over the weekend.

Huntington, the No 1 pick in the 2017 draft, is now facing a third knee reconstruction in her short Western Bulldogs career while Davey, last year’s AFLW best and fairest winner, will undergo her second ACL surgery on the same knee having first injured it in 2018.

A third big name, Brisbane’s Kate Lutkins, is facing a nervous wait on her own scan results after injuring her knee on Sunday.

Scans showed Huntington ruptured her right ACL graft and damaged her lateral meniscus after her knee buckled as she changed direction in the Bulldogs’ loss to Melbourne on Saturday.

The standout junior lost the 2018 and 2019 seasons to similar injuries before she returned to win the 2020 Rising Star as a defender.

“We are absolutely devastated for Izzy – she is a much-loved figure at the kennel, and everyone is well aware of her injury battles, so we’re just heartbroken for her,” Bulldogs women’s football boss Debbie Lee said.

“She worked extremely hard this pre-season to get herself ready for this year, so it’s a real shame her 2022 campaign has been cut short.

“Izzy is a true professional though, and having been through this twice before she will know what’s required of her. As a club, we’ll continue to support her and the family in any way we can.”

Magpies co-captain Davey left the field in tears late in the fourth term of Sunday’s 19-point victory over Carlton at Ikon Park and after will not return until next season at least, after scans confirmed she had ruptured her ACL and had a medial collateral ligament tear in her right knee.

Collingwood’s head of women’s football, Jess Burger, said the entire program was “heartbroken” for Davey, who won the club’s best and fairest medal and was named captain of the All-Australian side last year.

“It’s very hard to see our captain go down with such a cruel injury, let alone someone who is at the top of their game,” Burger said. “There is no doubt her injury has been felt not just within our team, but across the entire AFLW community.

“She’s recovered from this injury before and knows what it takes to get herself back to being regarded as one of the competition’s best. Bri will continue to play a key role in leading this team from the sidelines this season and our entire program will wrap our arms around her during this difficult time.”

Both players will consult with their surgeons this week.

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