GWS suf­fers an­other in­jury blow

NT News - - SPORT -

WESTERN Bull­dogs proved last year an in­jury cri­sis can breed re­silience and is no stum­bling block to win­ning an AFL premier­ship, now Greater Western Syd­ney must at­tempt to do some­thing sim­i­lar.

The Bull­dogs were dealt a se­ries of set­backs to key per­son­nel in 2016 but banked enough wins to fin­ish seventh.

They went on a fi­nals ram­page with the help of a cou­ple of re­turn­ing stars, win­ning four knock­out fix­tures to cel­e­brate the club’s first flag since 1954.

The Gi­ants are premier­ship favourites and the ex­pan­sion club’s depth is be­ing stretched in sim­i­lar fash­ion, with Devon Smith join­ing a long in­jury list on the eve of to­day’s clash against Rich­mond at Spot­less Sta­dium. Smith tore his right menis­cus at train­ing yes­ter­day and will un­dergo surgery early next week. The small for­ward will miss up to 12 weeks.

The Gi­ants con­firmed ear­lier this week vice-cap­tain Stephen Coniglio would miss 10 weeks with an an­kle in­jury he suf­fered dur­ing a last-start win over Colling­wood.

GWS coach Leon Cameron has been forced to reshuf­fle his mag­nets af­ter most rounds this year. Ryan Grif­fen, Brett Dele­dio, Nick Haynes, Matt Bun­tine, Adam Kennedy, Ja­cob Hop­per and Tendai Mzungu are all un­avail­able be­cause of long-term set­backs.

“Ev­ery team goes through it at some point. It’s just our turn at the mo­ment,” Cameron said.

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