AFL 2 years ago

GWS star hurt ahead of big match with Hawthorn

  • GWS star hurt ahead of big match with Hawthorn

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Ryan Griffen of the Giants celebrates a goal during the round four AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Port Adelaide Power at Star Track Oval on April 17, 2016 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/AFL Media/Getty Images)

GWS Giants midfielder Ryan Griffen is in doubt for this weekend's game against the Hawks after leaving the training track early yesterday with a back problem that has haunted him the last few season

Griffen has been in top-notch form this season, averaging 23 disposals this season and going at 81% disposal efficiency, playing across the half back line and through the midfield.

The in-form Greater Western Sydney bug catchers face their sternest AFL challenge yet this season from Hawthorn's mosquito fleet.

One of the highlights of Saturday's Blacktown match between the two teams will be how well the Giants defence copes with Hawthorn small forwards Cyril Rioli, Paul Puopolo and Luke Breust.

Puopolo had the game of his life in last Friday night's great escape against Adelaide.

Rioli's genius is self-evident and Breust is also a dangerous small forward.

But the Giants running defenders are also in form and they scythed through St Kilda in last Saturday's win.

GWS co-captain Phil Davis said teammates Heath Shaw, Zac Williams and Nathan Wilson would have to find the right mix of defence and counter-attack.

"They (the Giants backmen) are defending really well, but it's their offence that's getting a fair bit of attention at the moment, so hopefully they can keep that balance this weekend," Davis said.

"It's extremely difficult when you're playing some really good forwards and you want to go the other way - that's when you rely on the midfielders to make it a bit easier to defend.

"You need to play two ways as a small defender and at the moment we've got a really good balance there, but I'm not sure there is a bigger challenge than the Hawks.

"They've got three of the top five or six small forwards in the competition in the one forward line."

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