Greater Western Sydney chief executive David Matthews expects rising star Cameron McCarthy to return to the club after being granted indefinite leave due to personal issues.
McCarthy will head back home to Perth after he and his manager met with the club this week to discuss his struggles with homesickness and the demands of the game.
The 20-year-old has previously requested a trade to Fremantle in his home state, but the Giants were reluctant to let such a promising talent depart and rejected their advances.
The club considers the key forward as a critical part of their roster after he bagged 35 goals in just his second AFL season last year and are more than willing to ride out his issues.
“There’s no rush from our point of view. We think it’s an opportunity for Cam to take pressure off and just take some time away from the game,” Matthews said.
“Our expectation will be that he gets himself in a right frame of mind, feels good, and wants to come back and be a professional player at the Giants.”
The club had tried to appease McCarthy by curtailing his training regimen and allow him more time with family over the summer, but it hasn’t worked.
The 2013 No.14 pick, who is signed with the Giants until the end of the 2017 season, will now have ample opportunity to consider his future.
Coach Leon Cameron said the priority was McCarthy’s wellbeing.
“We need to make sure he is right – spend some good quality time with his family and his friends,” he said.
“Secondly, if he can play with the Giants this year, it would be magnificent for us. He’s a highly talented, respectful player of the competition. He nearly kicked 40 goals in his second year of AFL football as a key young forward.
“That sort of talent is pretty hard to come by.”
While McCarthy’s immediate future is now under a cloud, Cameron said he was confident the club had enough depth to cover his departure.
“Jon Patton is coming off his rehabilitation last year, James Stewart is making some really good steps in the right direction, we’ve also brought in a young kid called Harry Himmelberg, (and) Jeremy Cameron,” he said.
“We feel as though we’re in a really good position that that’s not going to hold us back.”
The Giants begin their season on the road against the Melbourne Demons on March 26.