Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron says his side’s upcoming AFL clash with Geelong could be the most important in the club’s short history.
The Giants sit in seventh place and are in the finals hunt for the first time since their inception in 2012, and Cameron said a win was critical to cement his young side’s position in the top eight.
“Every game is important, but as we get closer to the end of the year, the sides from fifth to probably 10th or 11th are fighting it out to pick up those last two or three spots,” Cameron told reporters on Wednesday.
“So it’s a huge game for us, and a huge game for Geelong.”
The Giants go into the game at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on the back of two successive wins over St Kilda and Gold Coast, breaking a three-game losing streak.
Cameron said the wins had given his side a much needed confidence boost with finals season on the horizon, and after injuries to senior players including Shane Mumford and Phil Davis.
“To get back on track and win those couple of games, and when we got really close against Richmond, is really important for our group,” he said.
“It’s good for the guys who have stepped in too, played a role, like Rory Lobb, Tom Downie, Jack (Steele),” he said.
The Giants have been boosted by the return of senior defender Joel Patfull, who missed the last four weeks after puncturing his lung in a clash with teammate Matt Buntine.
Cameron said Patfull was looking good in training and in line for a berth on the weekend.
He said Patfull’s experience on the big stage could make all the difference.
“We’ll assess that, and whether (after) the five weeks off he’s ready to come in,” he said.
“What’s in his favour is that he’s obviously a 10-year player, 12-year player, and he’s a mature body that we need.”
Also on the mend is forward Jon Patton after almost a year on the sidelines with two separate knee injuries.
“He goes and plays his first full game this week up in Brisbane, which is great, so his game time won’t be limited,” said Cameron.
“So he takes another step forward.”