Gun Giants set for mass return

Toby Greene will be back for GWS in a must-win clash against North Melbourne on Sunday as coach Leon Cameron weights up the pros and cons of a mass return of star players.

Greene, who has been standing in as skipper for Stephen Coniglio, was in career-best form before suffering a fractured shoulder in round 9.

He was expected to miss a month of football but will return after missing just two games, with former skipper Phil Davis, Matt de Boer, Adam Kennedy and Tom Hutchesson also on track to return from injuries this weekend.

But Cameron was conscious of getting the balance of returning players right.

“We’ve got to make sure we get the dynamic right of the team,” he said.

“Because we’ve been rapt with our young fellas progressing through their AFL journey and we’ve got to make sure we pull that right rein.

“Clearly, you can’t bring too many players back all at once. And it’s not just about this week. It’s about the remaining half of the year. We are ready to go, we want to finish strong in the back half of the year

“It’s getting that right mix, how much training they have done, who’s ready for AFL football and who is not.”

Cameron said Greene’s inclusion was crucial for the Giants, who have won five of 11 games and sit 11th on the ladder, as they look to push their finals ambitions against the Kangaroos.

“He really set the tone. The more leaders you can have the better … we are a better team when he is in,” Cameron said.

“He just goes at 100 miles an hour.

“He’s had a wonderful year … he has an enormous effect on the front half in terms of his competitiveness.

“Having those sorts of competitive players – de Boer is the same, Davis is the same … they‘re that driven to play really hard, tough footy.

“That’s infectious for any young player that comes into your footy club.”

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Coniglio, who has a long-term ankle issue, and key forward Jesse Hogan (calf) are both about three weeks away from returning.

Hamstrung young gun Harry Perryman is on track to face Carlton in round 14, while small forward Brent Daniels should be available for the Giants’ round-15 clash with Hawthorn as the Giants build for the second half of the season.

Cameron also paid tribute to Sam Reid, who this week plays his 100th game, 14 seasons after he made his AFL debut in 2008 with the Western Bulldogs and after twice being delisted by the Giants.

“It’s perseverance, it’s resilience, it’s everything you want in a person,” Cameron said of the long fight to the milestone for Reid, who also has issues with diabetes.

“The knock-backs he’s had, the challenges he has to deal with … it’s hard enough to play one game let alone 100. The boys are looking forward to playing for him.”

Originally published asGun Giants set for mass return

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