GREATER Western Sydney forward Jesse Hogan is expected to return this week to take on reigning premier Richmond on Saturday.
Hogan missed the Giants' two-point win over Essendon after feeling tightness in his calf, but starred the week before in his debut for the club with four goals against Adelaide.
The former Fremantle and Melbourne forward had to recover from a strained quad in the pre-season to play his first game for the Giants, and has suffered a series of soft-tissue injuries throughout his career, with the club careful not to risk him last week.
Hogan now looms as the most likely replacement for Jeremy Finlayson, who will miss a week after being suspended for making high contact to Bombers midfielder Zach Merrett.
"Jesse, in Adelaide, was really, really good, so if he gets through the full training this afternoon then he'll come into the team," coach Leon Cameron told reporters on Wednesday.
"He was pushing to play last Saturday, and he was just a bit tight on the captain's run [on Friday].
"We're also mindful that he's coming back from a long period out of the game. So we're not going to push it, but we're relatively confident that he's going to be available."
The Giants will also have to reshuffle their defensive line-up after Lachie Keeffe ruptured his ACL in the final minute of the match against the Bombers.
Matt Buntine has recovered from concussion he sustained in the 67-point win over the Crows in round seven and may be called on in part due to his past experience playing on Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt.
Jake Riccardi is another tall defensive option for the Giants, though he had mostly been used as a forward until gathering 40 disposals and 19 marks in the VFL a couple of weeks ago.
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But Cameron was quick to dismiss the idea of prized recruit Hogan filling the hole in defence, despite the 26-year-old spending some time down back during his time at the Dockers.
"[Keeffe's] been super for us for the last 12 months. He's taken up that premier full-back spot. You just can't replace 204cm key defenders," Cameron said.
"We think that the rhythm and the focus for [Hogan] is to get through training, and if that's all ticked off he takes up his key forward spot.
"I understand he's got some flexibilities, he's played in the midfield before and he's played back. But we'd like to think that some of the guys I just mentioned earlier, that they could come in and play that role down back."
The Giants will again have a decision to make on which ruckman to select, which seems especially crucial after Geelong exposed Richmond's ruck set-up last week and its use of Marlion Pickett as the main support for Toby Nankervis.
Veteran ruckman Shane Mumford has played in the past two matches and the team has a 4-0 win-loss record when he's featured this season.
But Cameron has been open all season that the 34-year-old can only play two or three games in succession before needing a break.
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"Mummy will train, it depends how much he trains. It's not just about this week, it's the week after and the week after that," Cameron said.
"[Kieren] Briggs and [Matt] Flynn are clearly putting their hands up to play, which is good. They're getting a bit impatient, they want to move the old fella out.
"If we think [Mumford] is in doubt because he's too sore then we'll do exactly what we did a few weeks ago and not play him."