FORMER Greater Western Sydney captain Phil Davis is confident Josh Kelly and the club's next generation will grasp the opportunity to lead an inexperienced team, as the Giants enter a tough fortnight without their regular leaders.
The Giants see Kelly as "the best person to captain our football club right now," according to Leon Cameron, as they prepare to take on West Coast without captain Stephen Coniglio (ankle), Toby Greene (shoulder), Matt de Boer (hamstring) and Davis (calf) due to injury.
That leaves stand-in skipper Kelly, Jacob Hopper and Lachie Whitfield as the only members of the Giants' leadership group set to be available for the clash with the Eagles on Sunday and Brisbane the following week.
Davis said the upcoming matches will be a valuable opportunity for Kelly in particular, as well as Hopper and Whitfield, to grow their leadership skills.
"It has been disappointing, ever since I got in the changeroom after that Melbourne game I've had leaders just keep on joining me in rehab," Davis said.
"With such an inexperienced group that we're playing each week, we're trying to give them as much guidance as we can during the week. Stephen in particular has done a fantastic job in his time out.
"You're always looking for development. Jacob, Josh and Lachie will have a really good opportunity in the next couple of weeks."
Davis also expects All-Australian defender Nick Haynes, who should return from a hamstring strain to face the Eagles, and young gun Tom Green to support that group and take on more responsibility.
The 30-year-old was co-captain of the Giants with Callan Ward from their inaugural year of 2012 until they both handed over the reins to Coniglio for the 2020 season.
With Coniglio sidelined since the round three loss to Melbourne, as Davis has been, superstar forward Greene was the on-field captain as the Giants turned around a 0-3 start to now sit 4-5.
Davis has been impressed, but not surprised, by the way Greene has led the team, not only in the past six weeks but since being appointed vice-captain earlier this year.
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"His growth has been significant since he got here and in particular the last three, four years. This year he's taken an even bigger step forward, which has been fantastic," Davis said.
"I think what he does out on the field sort of speaks for itself, he's got that want and desire to compete, and I think we all get drawn to that.
"But off the field he's definitely taken a really stronger presence in moulding the young players at the club."
Davis was initially expected to miss six weeks with a calf strain, which would've meant now being available to bolster the Giants' inexperienced defence, but he is still three weeks away from returning.
The key defender also missed the second half of the 2020 season after he sustained a medial ligament strain to his left knee in round 10, then once that had healed he suffered bone bruising to his opposite knee.
"It has obviously been frustrating, I want to play as much as I can. However, we sort of took a cautious approach," Davis said.
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"I was going to get back around this time but with the bye there [in round 12], and also having an interrupted pre-season, it was decided just to take it a little bit slower and be a bit more cautious.
"It will help me get a few more kilometres in the legs and hopefully be in a really good position for the back half of the year."