Emergency surgery sidelines Bulldogs star
WESTERN Bulldogs vice-captain Marcus Bontempelli has had to have emergency surgery to remove his appendix.
The 22-year-old star of the game trained at Whitten Oval on Tuesday but later complained of severe abdominal pain and was taken to hospital where he was operated on.
It is expected he will miss up to three weeks as he recovers from the emergency procedure.
The Bulldogs' season is effectively over with a 5-10 record and with only seven games remaining it will be the second straight season they've missed the finals after winning the premiership in 2016.
"Western Bulldogs vice-captain Marcus Bontempelli has been ruled out of this Saturday's match against Melbourne after having his appendix removed," a Bulldogs statement read.
"Bontempelli completed training on Tuesday without issue, but later suffered the onset of severe abdominal pain.
"He was immediately referred to hospital with acute appendicitis and had surgery overnight.
"Bontempelli is expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks of football as he recovers from the operation."
The loss of Bontempelli adds to an ever-growing list of injuries that have hit the Western Bulldgos this season.
Star midfielder Jack Macrae did his hamstring after an electrifying start to the season, they've also lost key players in Tom Liberatore, Easton Wood and Liam Picken.
This weekend was set to be Bontempelli's 100th game in the league, but with an expected 2-3 week delay the celebrations will have to be put on ice.
Meanwhile, Adelaide star Rory Sloane has spurned interest from Victorian clubs to sign a new five-year AFL contract with the Crows.
The 28-year-old, a restricted free agent at the end of the season, had been the subject of intense speculation over his future but will now likely play out his career at the South Australian club.
"This is a great footy club and I have said many times before how much I respect and love the place and people, particularly the playing group," Sloane said.
"There is always a lot to weigh up, especially given Belinda and I are about to start a family, and we have been in constant talks with the club for some time.
"I'm super excited about what the future holds, both from a personal and football perspective.
"10 years here. The last few years have been unbelievable … my confidence never wavered in what we're capable of achieving in the next few years.
"We have created a great environment where there is a genuine care for each other and strong desire to achieve the ultimate success."
Sloane's signing is a huge boost for the Crows, who have struggled to keep star players in the past.
"We've had some setbacks this year, but through that it's important you focus on the big picture which is the people," coach Don Pyke said.
Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron left West Lakes after last year's grand final loss to Richmond, joining departed stars like Patrick Dangerfield, Kurt Tippett, Phil Davis and Jack Gunston.
Adelaide list boss Justin Reid was understandably jubilant with the result.
"First and foremost, Rory is a quality person and he has the ability to inspire others around him," Reid said.
"His work ethic is first class and his determination to get the best out of himself, as well as his drive to make others and the team better is outstanding.
"We are thrilled that he will continue to be a key part in our push towards future success."
Sloane has played 171 games for the Crows since he was selected 44th overall at the 2008 draft.
He is a two-time club best-and-fairest winner and was an All-Australian in 2016.
His tenacity around the ball has been a driving force for the Crows midfield and after being named in the leadership group, he could be looking at leading the club according to one former player.
During Kane Cornes' playing days he was a rival of the Adelaide star, but he believes with the long-term deal it wouldn't be a shock to see him handed the captaincy tag.
"I don't know, but I get the feeling that Rory would love to captain the club and would be a popular choice," Cornes said.
"He's the same age as Tex (Taylor Walker), Tex has been popular as well and been voted by his peers as a good captain.
"I just think with five years to go I wouldn't be surprised if one day Rory Sloane captains the club."