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Joel Jeffrey is out of action until the end of the AFC Champions League season

The news that Joel Jeffrey has ruled for the remainder of the season has tempered the Gold Coast Suns’ celebrations over re-signing Jack Lucius.

The Gold Coast Suns lost Joel Jeffrey for the remainder of the AFC Champions League season, as the talented young striker underwent surgery on his right knee.

What was believed to be a minor injury sustained in the Suns’ win over Adelaide last Sunday proved to be much worse than expected, as scans revealed a meniscus tear that ended his campaign.

“It’s really unfortunate,” Suns coach Stuart Dew said on Thursday.

“Joel was adding something to our side and feeling good on the level.

“He really surprised us because it wasn’t too painful (after the match), but when he came in on Monday stumbling, my heart sank because I was so disappointed for him because he did so much work to get where he is.”

News of Jeffrey’s injury at the end of the season came hot on the heels of team-mate Will Powell’s horrific ankle fracture and dislocation from the same match that also ended his campaign in 2022.

“You just want your little guys to play,” Dio said.

In better news for the in-form Suns ahead of Sunday’s clash against Port Adelaide, Jack Lucosius has signed a four-year contract.

“I couldn’t be happier with the commitment for another four years at the Suns,” said the 21-year-old Lukosius, second pick in the 2018 AFL Draft.

“I am really grateful that they have shown their confidence in me to play here and I don’t want to be anywhere else.

“We’ve put in some hard work over the past few years. We’re starting to see some rewards now and I think that’s really exciting.”

Lucosius is currently out of action with a knee injury and is due to return in the next two weeks.

“I’m just eager to get back on the pitch and hopefully play my part in pushing the club forward to where we want to go,” he said.

The Suns aren’t distracted by suggestions that their AFL Finals hopes are on the line in Sunday’s game at the Adelaide Oval.

With his side only four points outside the top eight with more than a third of the regular season remaining, Dio was surprised to talk that this weekend’s battle was a do-or-die showdown.

“We have nine matches left,” Dio said.

“Our strength this year has been keeping our eyes very low for the coming weekend.

“We will continue our theme. This has been working. We are definitely not looking forward.

“I have good experience across the league over a number of years.

“I was guilty of that as a player and it doesn’t help you even a bit. I can definitely educate the group about the effects of that.”

The Suns, who are chasing their fourth win in a row on Sunday, are wary of Power’s side, only four points off the ladder.

“It’s quite a challenge,” Dio said.

“(Port Adelaide) played in a preliminary final last year. In the past few weeks, we’ve watched them build and get back to their best.”

Power has won six of her past eight matches, including a 23-point victory over the Sydney Swans last Saturday.

“They really did really, really, really subtly in Sydney at the weekend, which is tough,” Dio said.

“It’s a great test for us. A big crowd away, we’re looking forward to it. They play a tough style of footy.

“Our young people are very eager to get there. We have real faith, not false faith, which is why we are looking forward to Sunday.”

Suns star Matt Royle echoed Dio’s “game after game” sentiment despite his fervent desire to be part of the club’s first ever Suns team to go into football finals.

“We want to win the finals and we know we have to win a lot, but we’re only looking at one week at a time at the moment,” Roel said.

“That’s all we can do – focus on who we have this week and prepare as best we can.”

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