Sydney Arena - - ARENA SPORTS -

Greater West­ern Syd­ney ruck­man Shane Mum­ford has seen his pre-sea­son prepa­ra­tions ham­pered by a ham­string in­jury sus­tained prior to Christ­mas.

The Giants ex­pect that if fit Mum­ford will fea­ture in the early stages of the new sea­son and is a key player for GWS as a flag con­tender.

Mum­ford has played 172 games for Gee­long, Syd­ney and the GWS Giants over 10 sea­sons - and won a premier­ship with the Swans in 2012. He’s one of AFL’s most im­pos­ing ruck­men.

Mum­ford re­turned to GWS in De­cem­ber, sign­ing for the club as a rookie just a year af­ter he re­tired from the game due to a se­ries of de­bil­i­tat­ing in­jury prob­lems at the end of 2017.

He was sus­pended for two games af­ter a video showed him snort­ing a white pow­der prior to his AFL come­back.

Be­fore the video sur­faced Mum­ford suf­fered a low-grade ham­string strain that he has re­cov­ered from while on a mod­i­fied pro­gram.

The 32-year-old’s sus­pen­sion means he will miss the Giants’ open­ing round clash with Essendon at the SCG.

Mum­ford has played 172 ca­reer games. He was the Giants’ 2014 best and fairest win­ner, and as­sisted as the club’s ruck coach through­out the 2018 sea­son.

His re­turn will aid the Giants who are de­pleted with ruck stocks af­ter Rory Lobb re­turned to West­ern Aus­tralia to join Fre­man­tle.

Mum­ford’s mind is to­tally fo­cused on a big im­pact come­back.

He’s been a VIP (very im­por­tant part) Gi­ant as both a player and a coach.

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