Facial fracture sidelines goalie

JETS goalkeeper Mark Birighitti suffered a compressed fracture of the cheekbone in a sickening collision with Jeremy Brockie at Hunter Stadium yesterday and will be out for at least six weeks.

Birighitti was carried  off after receiving a knee to the face in the 65th minute.

The goalkeeper was taken to hospital, where he underwent scans for a fractured cheekbone and concussion.

Coach Gary van Egmond expects he will be sidelined for at least six weeks.

‘‘It doesn’t look so good. It is a compressed fracture of his cheekbone. He will get operated on tonight and is looking at six to eight weeks,” van Egmond said.

The coach did not question Brockie’s challenge.

“He made a great save and unfortunately there was a collision. It happens in our sport,’’ van Egmond said.

Brockie, who played for Newcastle last season, said the collision was an accident.

‘‘I feel sorry for Birighitti. I hope he is all right. I certainly didn’t mean to collide with him on purpose,”  Brockie said.

“I will send him a message tonight. It was definitely one of those freak accidents.

‘‘He is a good goalkeeper and hopefully we see him back soon.’’

Birighitti is the second Jets goalkeeper to be sidelined with injury this season.

Ben Kennedy, the Jets player of the year last year, recently underwent surgery on his knee which will keep him out for at least another four weeks.

‘‘Super unfortunate for both keepers. They are good young boys coming through,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘Ben with his knee and now this with Biris. Yeah, bad luck.” 

He  did not rule out  signing a new player to replace the injured keepers.

“We are not going to get someone for the sake of getting someone. But, again, we will sit down and discuss it.’’

 Matthew Nash, who is signed to the Jets on a short-term contract, replaced Birighitti for the rest of yesterday’s game and will play in Saturday’s away match against Melbourne Heart.

‘‘It is not an easy one but the whole week lead-in to the next game will give him a lot more idea of the fact he is going to play and he will derive more confidence from that as well,’’ van Egmond said.

Young Socceroo Jack Duncan, who has returned from playing in the under-19 Championship in Emirates, may also be called in. 

NASTY KNOCK:  Mark Birighitti is carried off yesterday.    Picture: Ryan Osland

NASTY KNOCK: Mark Birighitti is carried off yesterday. Picture: Ryan Osland


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