JETS coach Craig Deans hopes to have Larissa Crummer back next W-League season pushing for Olympic Games selection after the devastation of missing this year's World Cup with a horror leg injury.
Crummer broke the tibia and fibula bones in her left leg in a heavy collision with Adelaide goalkeeper Sarah Willacy in the eighth minute of Newcastle’s round 13 2-1 victory at Marden Sports Complex on Friday.
The match was delayed for more than 13 minutes as the 23-year-old received treatment, including having her leg placed in a splint, before she was taken to hospital.
Crummer had surgery on Saturday morning to stabilise the breaks and later posted a photo on social media of an X-ray confirming the complete break of both lower leg bones.
The injury appears certain to rule the Matildas utility out of the World Cup, which will be held in June in France. Crummer played two matches at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The former W-League Golden Boot had come to Newcastle this season to develop as a centre-back for the national squad. The sacking of Matlidas coach Alen Stajcic a week ago had thrown that plan up in the air. With injury-hit Newcastle out of the finals race, Deans started Crummer up front against Adelaide.
He said the club were devastated for Crummer.
“The early talk was nine to 12 months,” Deans said of how long Crummer could be sidelined.
“She spoke to a few people on Friday night and she’s got to get her head around missing a World Cup, which is the most disappointing thing.
“I spoke to Larissa before the game and just said relax and enjoy yourself, because she was feeling a bit of pressure with the Matildas situation.
“I said there’s no pressure, go play up front and have some fun for a change. So from a personal point of view, it’s just disappointing that she’s not going to get the opportunity to go to a World Cup. Her focus now is on the Olympics and trying to get herself back ready for them.”
Deans said the Jets would do all they could to support the Queenslander, who is off contract in a few weeks.
“Depending on where she’s at next year, she’s definitely someone I would have back,” he said. ”The good thing is she’s young, she’s just turned 23, she’s a good athlete and she looks after herself. She’s strong and powerful so she’s got a good chance of making a successful comeback.”
He also praised the commitment of Crummer, who was in a race to the ball when she was injured.
“That side of her game is excellent, just her desire, effort and will to win,” he said.
“That’s probably what’s got her in this situation, but you don’t want to ever stop a player showing that enthusiasm and commitment.”
Crummer thanked her supporters via social media on Friday night and said: “Not the best start to the year, but I promise I’ll be back stronger than before.”
She posted on Sunday that: “Injury Update for all those people asking, my tibia and fibula we’re both completely broken. I under went surgery yesterday morning to get the bones put back together. Unfortunately during surgery I ended up getting acute compartment syndrome, the surgeon had to release the pressure. I’m feeling a lot better and have great people around to help me get through this.”
The Jets went ahead via a penalty from the foul on Crummer, which brought a yellow card to Willacy. Adelaide equalised quickly but Pana Petratos, the sister of Jets A-League star Dimi Petratos, scored her first W-League in stoppage time to seal the win.
Newcastle finish their season against Western Sydney Wanderers at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday night.