GWS star hurt ahead of big AFL match

GWS expect Ryan Griffen to play in Saturday’s big AFL match against Hawthorn, despite the star onballer suffering a corked back at training.

Griffen was holding his lower back as he left the track early on Wednesday, but the Giants later said he was in no doubt for the twilight match at home.

He was among the Giants’ best players last Sunday in the win over St Kilda and will have a crucial role in combating the Hawthorn midfield.

Another pivotal duel will be the Giants bug catchers against the Hawks mosquito fleet – 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 last Sunday they scythed through St Kilda.

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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