GREATER Western Sydney has its arms wide open for troubled forward Cam McCarthy if he decides to return to the AFL, but "only time will tell" if that is the path he will take.
Nearly four weeks after McCarthy was granted a period of extended leave to deal with personal issues, the Giants remain in regular contact with the 20-year-old.
Coach Leon Cameron said McCarthy was "too good a person and too good a player" not to return to the AFL, but he needed to fall back in love with the game first.
"I'd love to see him come back to our footy club, but his health and his wellbeing are absolutely the most important thing," Cameron told AFL.com.au.
"Cam is too good a person and too good a player to be out of AFL footy."
Cameron said the club remained in contact with McCarthy, who returned to Perth and was "in a good place and feeling good about himself".
"We don't bombard him, because the reason he needed some space was probably to get away from footy," Cameron said.
"But our welfare guys, led by Brett Hand and Dylan Addison, will continue just to keep checking in on him.
"I'll continue to text him or ring him, just to make sure he's going OK.
"I'm just worried about making sure he's happy and happy in his life."
The Giants start their NAB Challenge campaign on Thursday night against the Western Bulldogs in Canberra, after which they will settle their leadership group.
Cameron said the club's co-captain structure would not change, with Phil Davis and Callan Ward to share the duties again in 2016.
However, there will be a vote to fill the rest of the leadership positions, which were held by Shane Mumford, Tom Scully and Heath Shaw last season.
"Last year we had five in the leadership group … but we don't cap the numbers, whether it's four, seven or eight," Cameron said.
"We've added Devon Smith, Stephen Coniglio and Dylan Shiel in the past three months in dealing with leadership issues.
"But for our official group … all players will vote as well as coaches and some administration.
"I want to see these guys in action through the NAB Challenge, not just through pre-season training."
Collingwood premiership player Nick Maxwell has been running a leadership program at GWS since last November, and he has recently agreed to take on a match-day role with the club's backline.
The Giants promoted NEAFL backline coach Nick Walsh to an assistant role with the AFL team, and Maxwell will work alongside him to cover the loss of Mark McVeigh, who is a member of the suspended Essendon 34.
"We're really rapt with the outcome they're producing and out of an awkward set of circumstances we feel like we have more than covered it," Cameron said.
"We'll welcome Mark McVeigh back in November. He's very well respected and he's going to be around at our club for a long time.
"Nick (Maxwell) will do about 90 per cent of our games with a leadership hat on and a backline hat on."