GREATER Western Sydney will be boosted by the return of All-Australian Lachie Whitfield for Saturday’s Sydney Derby at the SCG.
The 28-year-old has missed the past two matches against Carlton and Brisbane due to a hip flexor injury.
But after passing a fitness test at training today, it is understood that Whitfield has been given the green light to return this weekend.
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The Giants will also welcome back co-captain Josh Kelly and star forward Jesse Hogan for the clash against the Swans.
After missing the 36-point loss to the Blues, dual Kevin Sheedy medallist Kelly has exited concussion protocols and been cleared to return to action.
Hogan will also resume his season after the Giants chose to manage his load last weekend.
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The former Melbourne and Fremantle spearhead had been showing some signs of soreness in his troublesome calf and the club chose to err on the side of caution, given his history.
After playing 12 games in 2019 and only seven in his last season at the Dockers in 2020, before managing only nine in his first year at the Giants in 2021, Hogan has played 14 games so far this season and could add four more between now and the end of August.
Inside midfielder Tom Green was a surprise omission last weekend after a quiet fortnight, but is understood to be in line for a recall to combat Sydney’s imposing engine room that bats so deep there might not be room for former captain Josh Kennedy in the 22 just yet, despite a strong return in the VFL across the past fortnight.
Mark McVeigh’s side has dropped three on the trot – all by at least six goals – and won only once since they beat North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium in round 13.
With only five wins on the board in 2022, Greater Western Sydney is facing its worst return in a season since 2013 when it won only one game in its second season in the AFL.