PORTLAND forward Dennis O’Loughlin will put all his energy into plotting the Tigers’ under 18½ finals campaign as he contemplates a premature end to his playing career.
The 26-year-old yesterday received the worst possible diagnosis after dislocating an ankle in the Tigers’ win over Cobden last Saturday.
“It’s not good,” O’Loughlin said. “Every ligament is gone. It will be an ankle reconstruction. The doctors have told me I will never play again.”
O’Loughlin, who is in his third season with the Tigers, was looking forward to helping the club push for a historic first Hampden league finals campaign.
Instead, he will be confined to the bench for the under 18½s as coach and then sit around tomorrow watching and hoping his teammates can upset second-placed Koroit and steal fifth spot.
“I will be there this week,” he said. “The boys (under 18½s) are going really well. Hopefully I can get something out of the year.”
His team is third entering tomorrow’s final home-and-away match.
O’Loughlin will see a specialist in Melbourne on Monday to discuss his surgical options.
The Portland Tigers cricketer is already preparing for a summer of rehab, instead of plying his all-round skills with bat and ball.
“The doctor said I definitely won’t be playing this season and I will have to do my rehab right if I’m going to get back playing at all. His words were ‘it’s rooted’.”
O’Loughlin said the injury happened about 10 minutes into the final quarter of last Saturday’s match at Hanlon Park.
“I was chasing (an opponent) and I just went to stop and it just dislocated. There was nothing in it at all. As I did it, I felt it go. I thought I had broken my leg. I saw it was sideways. It’s not a nice feeling.”
O’Loughlin, who moved from Bacchus Marsh to join former Tigers coach Jarrod Holt at Portland three seasons ago, said the timing of the injury couldn’t have been worse.
While he can play in the ruck, he has spent more time forward this year as the Tigers look for marking power.
His injury means teenager Ben Malcolm will have to carry the bulk of the ruck work tomorrow against Koroit’s twin towers of Nathan Meade and Jeremy Hausler.