Luckless Greater Western Sydney AFL forward Jon Patton has vowed to fight his way back from a second knee reconstruction and spend the next decade with his Giants teammates.
Patton will undergo surgery next week after suffering the season-ending injury last Sunday against Melbourne at the MCG.
The 21-year-old key position player had missed just one game this season after playing only 10 matches in his first two injury-plagued seasons.
He required pre-season knee surgery in 2012 and then had his year cut short by a shoulder issue.
Patton’s 2013 campaign stopped in round three when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament for the first time.
He said he had been overwhelmed by support from players, coaches and Giants supporters following his latest setback.
“There’s no doubt this is a very challenging and confronting time in my life,” Patton said in a message to Giants supporters on the club’s website.
“I’m three years into my career and have had more injuries than most people have endured for their whole career.
“There is nothing I can do about any of this. I can’t rewind the past or think about what could’ve been.
“When I first heard the news about my knee, I couldn’t stop crying for 20 minutes.
“But with the support of Giants welfare manager Craig Lambert, my manager Paul Connors, my brother Chris and mum Belinda, I quickly realised that life goes on and I had to deal with what has been thrown at me.
“I have been through this rehab before so I know what is in front of me.
“It’s going to be a tough, long road but I guarantee everyone that I will be back.
“I’m not sure when but I will be back and I will show everyone what persistence and hard work can lead to.
“I now need to move on and deal with this situation. After all, this is only a nine to 10-month rehab.
“There are people out there fighting for their lives and going through a lot tougher things than I am.”
Patton’s future has been the subject of much recent speculation, with reports that other clubs, especially the Western Bulldogs, were prepared to pay him up to $900,000 a season after his contract with GWS expires next year.
While the new injury would seem to stall any potential move, Patton strongly suggested his long-term future was with the Giants.
He said he couldn’t think of a better club to be part of, thanks to the support of teammates, chief executive Dave Matthews and Giants general manger of football, Graeme Allan.
“I will get my surgery done early next week and recover to the best of my ability to make sure I am there with my teammates for the next 10 years,” Patton said.