AFL

GWS Giants plagued by injuries

GWS Giants plagued by injuries
GWS Giants must attempt to overcome their injury crisis as players are set to miss weeks of play.

Western Bulldogs proved last year an injury crisis can breed resilience and is no stumbling block to winning an AFL premiership, now Greater Western Sydney must attempt to do something similar.

The Bulldogs were dealt a series of setbacks to key personnel in 2016 but banked enough wins to finish seventh.

They went on a finals rampage with the help of a couple of returning stars, winning four knockout fixtures to celebrate the club's first flag since 1954.

GWS are premiership favourites and joined the competition in 2012, meaning they're unlikely to garner as much goodwill as the Bulldogs did last year.

But the expansion club's depth is being stretched in similar fashion, with Devon Smith joining a long injury list on the eve of Saturday's clash between GWS and Richmond at Spotless Stadium.

Smith tore his right meniscus at training on Friday and will undergo surgery early next week.

The small forward will miss up to 12 weeks because of the innocuous knee injury he suffered, having changed direction while jogging at training.

The Giants confirmed earlier this week vice-captain Stephen Coniglio will miss 10 weeks with an ankle injury he suffered during a last-start win over Collingwood.

GWS coach Leon Cameron has been forced to reshuffle his magnets after most rounds this year.

Ryan Griffen, Brett Deledio, Nick Haynes, Matt Buntine, Adam Kennedy, Jacob Hopper and Tendai Mzungu are all unavailable because of long-term setbacks.

Teenager Harry Perryman will become GWS's third debutant of the season on Saturday, when former Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer makes his club debut.

'Every team goes through it at some point. It's just our turn at the moment,' Cameron said on Friday.

'Through those injuries, some of these guys are playing maybe a bit earlier than they would have thought.

'You find out about players, which is great.'

"Daniel Lloyd is a great example ... he stepped up last week (on debut). He can play AFL footy.'

De Boer was delisted by the Dockers last year but given a career lifeline when the Giants selected him with pick No.58 in the draft.

The 27-year-old suffered a hamstring injury earlier this year but has impressed in the seconds since returning.

'His last four weeks he's started to get into some really good rhythm,' Cameron said.

'He's a really good role player, he's hard at it ... no doubt he's going to be really hungry tomorrow.'

Cameron indicated De Boer would spend some time in the forward line but also faced the onerous task of combating the Tigers' star-studded midfield.

'There's no doubt he will find himself in there against Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia,' he said.

'They've got a really good midfield.'