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Demons medicos backed by Goodwin after Petracca dramas

By Roger Vaughan
Updated June 19 2024 - 11:25am, first published 11:22am
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has defended the treatment of injured superstar Christian Petracca. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has defended the treatment of injured superstar Christian Petracca. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Melbourne's AFL medical staff have had strong public backing from coach Simon Goodwin in the wake of the controversy around Christian Petracca's surgery.

Goodwin has added that Petracca is recovering well, to the point of "constantly communicating" with him, and adds the Demons are "surprised" by media reports that there is family disquiet around the circumstances.

Petracca is back home after needing surgery on a lacerated spleen following the King's Birthday loss to Collingwood, and spending several days isolated in intensive care.

"It's not really my job it's the doctors' job and I trust our medical team like never before - they're unbelievable at what they do and they're independent to the game," Goodwin said on Wednesday.

"They did all the assessments possible and we're really comfortable where that stood.

"It wasn't until a long time post (-game) that an internal injury was diagnosed - and they're very hard injuries to diagnose."

Petracca was crunched by Collingwood captain Darcy Moore in a marking contest at the end of the first term last week during the King's Birthday game.

Petracca left the field in agony, but returned for a few minutes.

He eventually was subbed out of the match and taken to hospital by ambulance.

Initially, the diagnosis was cracked ribs, but it later emerged he had a lung puncture and the spleen damage.

That has meant ongoing media scrutiny about Petracca being let back on the ground.

"A lot of those people aren't doctors. All the tests they did suggested Christian wasn't OK - when he wasn't OK, then he was removed from the game and sent off for further examination," Goodwin said.

As Melbourne had the bye last weekend, Wednesday morning's weekly media conference was Goodwin's first chance since the surgery to discuss the fallout.

Most recently, there has been talk that Petracca's family is unhappy about how the Demons handled his injuries and the immediate aftermath.

"The only thing I can go by is the conversations I've had with Christian and (his partner) Bella ... they're incredibly thankful of the support the club has given," Goodwin said.

"We were surprised by the reports. Christian is surprised by the reports and we're really confident that the family and Christian are in a great place."

In the wake of Petracca's injuries, there has been some talk about medical scanning equipment being available at all AFL grounds.

"Even a scanning facility at the ground wouldn't have picked it up - Christian's injuries weren't picked up until 2am, after two or three scans," he said.

"Yeah, we can have scanning facilities there, but will that still make a difference? Who knows.

"We trust our doctors, we trust what they provide and we trust how they assess people."

Goodwin said with a wry grin that the extroverted Petracca is very keen to help his team.

"He's in really good spirits. He's at home, he's bored, he wants to get back involved and help out in whatever way he can - that's Christian," Goodwin said.

Goodwin also spoke about the difficulty of covering the loss of one of the game's top players for the rest of the season.

"Obviously he's a difficult player to replace, he has an enormous impact. But that's where you have an opportunity to grow as a footy team and as a footy club," he said.

Australian Associated Press