GWS star Ward on track for AFL restart

Former GWS co-captain Callan Ward is on track to play in the Giants' first AFL game after the restart, having been sidelined for over a year.

CALLAN WARD of the Giants.
CALLAN WARD of the Giants. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

GWS coach Leon Cameron is leaning toward pitching former co-captain Callan Ward straight back into the side once the AFL competition resumes.

Ward suffered an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury in round four of 2019 in his only senior game last year.

The Giants co-captain for their first eight seasons before standing down, Ward is the club's all-time appearance leader with 157 games.

Cameron said Ward would have been on track to return to play had the season not been suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ward won't have the chance to play lower-grade competition to ease his way back into action but Cameron was optimistic the veteran on-baller would be ready to go when the competition resumed.

"He's 30 years old and we trust in our ex (co) captain to come out and play a really good brand of footy footy from the start," Cameron said.

"He's going to be smashing the door down, there's no doubt he wants contact next week to show off what he is capable of

"But if we don't think he's ready and we need to give him another week then we will do that, but right now there is probably no reason why to hold him back."

Cameron said the Giants reigning best and fairest Tim Taranto was eight to nine weeks away from playing after he required a shoulder reconstruction.

GWS have opted for a mixture of forwards, midfielders and backs and veterans and youngsters in each of their eight-man training groups and reduced their coaching group from nine to seven.

Cameron is anticipating some frantic football when the competition does finally resume in mid-June and the Giants look to build on a 32-point first round home win over Geelong.

"There's no doubt the excitement just to play I think take the game up a little notch," Cameron said.

"There's only one round as a sample set but you could clearly see with the reduced time from 120 down to 100 minutes players wanted to go faster.

"Add that on top of the excitement to be back no doubt it will probably be pretty helter-skelter early

"But we've also got to be mindful that our players don't overstep the mark and that's a hard thing because they are competitive beasts."


AAP