Greater Western Sydney ruckman Shane Mumford concedes his ankle will never be 100 per cent again and he will have to play through pain for the rest of his AFL career.
Mumford will make his first appearance for the Giants, in Saturday’s NAB Challenge clash against Sydney at Drummoyne Oval, since injuring his left ankle in a marking contest against Collingwood in round 11 last year.
The 29-year-old, arguably GWS’s most influential player, underwent a full reconstruction and slogged through an arduous rehabilitation process to restore movement and range in his ankle.
But Mumford is now fit and ready to test it out in the context of a match, although he concedes his ankle won’t be the same again.
“There’s always going to be ongoing maintenance like with any injury. It’s never going to be completely 100 per cent again so I’ve just got to keep being on top of it with the rehab exercises I do,” Mumford said on Thursday.
“It just takes me a bit longer to actually recover. I’ll still play that same bash-and-crash style of footy but probably won’t be doing much training until Thursday or Friday during the week.
“My whole body’s got pain in it, these days. It’s just about managing how much pain, I guess.”
Mumford is aiming to play around 70 per cent of the game and wants more minutes in the Giants’ final pre-season clash against Brisbane in two weeks, as he looks to build up a solid base of match fitness before round one.
His former Geelong teammate and new Drummoyne resident, Steve Johnson, is also set to make his GWS debut against the Swans.
“I think it’s the first time he’s ever been able to walk to a NAB Challenge match, because he lives just up the road,” coach Leon Cameron said.
“It’ll be a little bit strange for him walking through the streets of Drummoyne to get to the game.
“No doubt there’ll be a few nerves, he’s going to put on a different jumper to the one he’s worn for the last 13-14 years, but he’s not going to be nervous because he hasn’t done the work.
“He’s had a really good pre-season, he’s an exciting player and we want him to lead our young forward line.”