Lachie Ash is chased by Ben Keays during Greater Western Sydney's clash against Adelaide in round 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

GREATER Western Sydney may be facing another injury setback ahead of Saturday night's critical clash with Carlton after defensive dasher Lachie Ash was a no show at Thursday's main training session.

The struggling Giants are set to revamp their forward line for the Engie Stadium home game against the Blues with both Aaron Cadman and Darcy Jones almost certain to be recalled, but Ash's absence at training was notable as he battles a corked calf.

The 23-year-old may be given until late on gameday to prove his fitness but if he's unable to get up, it'll be a further blow for Adam Kingsley's side following the fresh calf injury to Josh Kelly and continued absence of Sam Taylor.

The surprise news that Kelly will miss around a month for the second time this season with a calf problem has led his coach to ponder if they need to delve deeper into their soft tissue woes.

"I felt like we were over the hump but Kelly again hurting his calf, maybe we haven't quite solved the problems in that space. We continue to dig and try work out why and adjust our program accordingly," Kingsley said.

The Giants have provided a four-week timeline for Taylor's return from a ruptured testicle and while he looked in good spirits at training, Kingsley admits there is still uncertainty over just when they'll get him back.


"It's hard to really know. It'll be dependent on how he reacts to running. We have to just wait and see how he progresses. Hopefully it is four or shorter but there's a chance it could be longer," he said.

As the Giants split into two packs at the end of training, the presence of former No.1 draft pick Cadman and speedy forward Jones with the AFL group signalled two of the forward line changes the Giants will make.

While Kelly is a guaranteed out from the loss to Adelaide last week, Max Gruzewski is likely to drop back to the VFL while Callum Brown's spot is in danger after kicking just two goals in four games since returning from suspension.

"Both of those guys (Cadman and Jones) in the past two weeks have been really strong in the VFL. Both have played the way we want at VFL level. It looks likely that they'll play," Kingsley said.


Jones' ability to pressure in attack may lead the Giants to use Toby Bedford in a tagging role for the fourth week in a row after run-with tasks on Zak Butters, Chad Warner and Jordan Dawson.

If the Giants do deploy him defensively through the midfield again, Blues superstar Sam Walsh looms as the most likely target.

"He certainly contributes to their scoring. He and (Patrick) Cripps are two of the gun players of the competition. We'll assess who we think is a priority and who impacts more if they're taken out of the game for Carlton and try and do that job," said Kingsley.

After just two wins in their past eight games, the Giants languish in 10th spot, a long way off their pre-season premiership ambitions.


However, the coach is adamant it's not a win or bust situation just yet on Saturday night in terms of their flag hopes.

"We've got to re-establish the way that we play and walk off the ground with a brand that we're proud of. If we do that then all the results take care of themselves," Kingsley said.

"We're not quite reaching those levels yet, I have confidence that we will.

"We're up against the second-best team in the comp this week so it's going to be a really big challenge for us. I'm more concerned in re-establishing our brand as opposed to trying to make finals and win premierships at this point in time."