Greater Western Sydney Giants star Callan Ward to break club record
Callan Ward is set to become the first man to play 200 games for the GWS Giants this weekend after shaking off his concussion symptoms over the bye.
Tim Taranto and Phil Davis are still at least another week away, but Lachie Whitfield is available for selection in Sunday’s clash with North Melbourne that the Giants must win to keep their unlikely finals tilt on track.
Caretaker coach Mark McVeigh subbed Ward out of the Giants’ round 11 game against the Lions after Eric Hipwood’s knee collected his head in a marking contest.
Ward cleared concussion protocols on Wednesday and McVeigh confirmed he was set to play this weekend.
“He’s obviously been out of training but he’s been able to do some stuff that’s in line with our medical staff,” McVeigh said.
“He has been no contact the whole time, but we fully expect him to present well come Friday and be available, so that’s terrific news for the club.”
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McVeigh paid tribute to Ward, who joined the Giants from the Western Bulldogs in 2012 as one of their inaugural co-captains.
He celebrated his 250th senior game earlier this season and would’ve been closing in on 300 by now but for a cruel run of injuries that forced him to miss the Giants’ maiden grand final appearance and restricted him to just eight games between 2019 and 2020.
McVeigh said Ward, 32, was a fantastic clubman and set the standards for his teammates in Sydney’s west.
“I think we’ve got to continue to strive to be like Callan Ward,” he said.
“He plays the game in the right manner, he’s a hard player, treats people with respect around the footy club and outside and he’s always humble about it.
“I think the thing that stands out about Callan Ward is he’s very humble. That’s how we like to be at the Giants.
“So he means a lot to us. He’s done a hell of a lot for us and he’s one of those players that you just can’t replace.
“So yeah, tremendous respect from you know, not only the footy department but the other side of the building for us and you’re very well liked.”
In more good news for the Giants, former No.1 draft pick Whitfield has recovered from an ankle injury and will be available for selection against North Melbourne.
“He needed a good break and he’s had that and he’s trained strongly,” McVeigh said.
Tim Taranto (back) and Phil Davis (hamstring) will push for selection against the Western Bulldogs next weekend.
“Tim is ticking off all the sessions that are required. Right now, he’s looking on track to potentially be available next week,” McVeigh said.
“We’re really happy with how he’s going. The break for him was really good, he needed a mental and physical break as well, like all of us.
“Phil Davis is one week away, he was very close this week. We’ll just give it one more.”
The Giants are four wins behind the team running eighth and must defeat the Kangaroos this weekend if they’re any chance of keeping in touch with the competition’s heavyweights.
“This is a really important game for our club,” McVeigh said.
“North Melbourne will challenge us. They’ll put their best foot forward and we’ve got to be ready for it.”
Originally published as Greater Western Sydney Giants star Callan Ward to break club record
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