Adam Kingsley looks on during the R11 match between GWS and Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on May 25, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

IF THE shock injury to Sam Taylor wasn't enough, Greater Western Sydney has been hit with another setback ahead of Saturday's monster derby against Sydney with coach Adam Kingsley absent from Thursday's main training session.

The Giants coach has been sidelined with a bout of COVID but is expected to be fine to lead his charges in Sydney Derby 28 on Saturday afternoon at a likely sold-out Engie Stadium.

It was left to his assistants to put the team through their Thursday morning paces on that same ground with Ben Hart entrusted with the media responsibilities.

The Taylor scenario was the key question after the shock news on Wednesday that he will be out with a ruptured testicle suffered in the second half of the win over Port Adelaide.

The superstar defender had surgery on Tuesday and while a timeline for his return is still indefinite, the club is hopeful it will only be a two-week layoff and that he'll be back for the round 17 home clash with Carlton.

"I think anywhere from seven to 15 days, but who knows. He's got to get himself right and then get back and train but hopefully it's not too long," Hart said.

Sam Taylor looks on during the R14 match between GWS and Port Adelaide at Engie Stadium on June 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"We'd prefer to have him there. But we also feel we've got the players to cover. (Jack) Buckley's been in good form, Leek Aleer's also come into the side. Last week we were pretty tall down there so we've got the people to cover it."

Taylor's toughness was again exemplified through the shock injury amid the revelation that he played on with it during the second half of the critical win over the Power.

"He's a tough player, that's for sure, I think they're still trying to piece it together (how and when it happened) but we think it was in the third quarter," Hart said.

Taylor's absence will be alleviated by the near-certain return of Lachie Ash to provide extra drive out of defence while star onballer Stephen Coniglio trained well and remains a chance to play but is more likely to come back from a shoulder injury next week, away to Adelaide.

An interesting selection quandary for the Giants coaching staff surrounds former No.1 pick Aaron Cadman, who has managed only four goals and five marks in his past five games.

There is pressure on his spot from marking forward Max Gruszewski who has been starring in the VFL.


Whether the Giants feel he's ready to debut in the heat of a derby or if Cadman should be afforded another chance will be a big call.

"It'll be an interesting discussion. Aaron (Cadman) brings so many strengths to the table, he may not have had the perfect month but he provides a target for us and is certainly good on the ground," Hart said.

"Max has been in strong form and he competes really hard so yeah, one of those two."

The surprise tagging job from small forward Toby Bedford on Zak Butters was a key contributor to Sunday's win over Port and it'll be a big watch come the opening bounce to see if he's given a similar task on one of the Swans' midfield maestros in Errol Gulden, Chad Warner or Isaac Heeney.

"Which one? Who do you go to? This is the thing," Hart said.

"Toby was great for us, he showed his flexibility last week. He ran with someone last week, doesn't mean he will this week but we think he adds a different mix to our midfield group, so maybe."

Toby Bedford and Connor Rozee during the R14 match between GWS and Port Adelaide at Engie Stadium on June 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Giants are certainly expecting a tag the other way, though, from James Jordon after he kept Giants star Lachie Whitfield quiet off half-back in the Swans' win at the SCG in round eight.

"We will have (a plan). But we understand it's not the Whitfield show either. He understands if that happens what should occur and his teammates also need to see that and acknowledge it and help to work that out," Hart said.

The Jordon tagging roles along with a mesmerising midfield, dominant ruckman and multi-layered forward line has led the Swans to a nine-game winning streak and three-game break at the top of the ladder.


The Giants still feel their best can match their rivals and anyone else on their day but having won just three of their past eight games, including a recent 29-point defeat to Sydney, there are doubts as to whether they're ready for the ultimate scalp in the AFL just yet.

"There's been a change in the last couple weeks I think in the way we've been feeling, the way we've been training, the way we've been playing," said Hart.

"Last week looked a little bit more like the way we want a game to look like. The group are feeling really good and off the back of the win last week we feel like we can attack the second half of the season."