Gold Coast's hopes of a maiden AFL finals berth are looking slim after a five-point loss to Collingwood, as injuries start to mount for Stuart Dew's team.
Luckless young defender Connor Budarick is facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines after injuring his right knee late in Saturday's clash with the Magpies at Metricon Stadium.
The 21-year-old missed most of last year after rupturing his ACL in just the second round of the 2021 campaign and Dew confirmed after the game it was looking likely Budarick had suffered a recurrence of the injury.
Scans will have to confirm if the Suns' worst fears are realised but it leaves Dew battling to come up with a backline for next week's clash with Richmond.
Already the Suns are without Wil Powell (ankle) and Lachie Weller (knee) for the season while Jy Farrar missed Saturday's game due to the AFL's health and safety protocols.
"Our backline has taken another hit with Connor going down," Dew said.
"We have to look at that.
"With Powell out of there, Farrar, Budarick and Weller ... we'll have to cobble together one."
The loss leaves the Suns' 11th on the ladder with a 7-8 record and eight points outside the top eight.
Despite the likelihood two agonising single-point losses to Port Adelaide and the Magpies may have left his team too much to do to reach the finals, Dew wasn't yet throwing in the towel.
"It was obviously a key game given where we both sat on the ladder," he said.
"There's still a lot of footy to be played and we look forward to playing Richmond next week ... they play a similar style (to Collingwood) so a bit of a dress rehearsal.
"We'll just analyse that game and look where we can get better."
Australian Associated Press
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