WORLD

‘Shattered’ AFL star ‘can hardly move’

When Mumford began his AFL career, the Giants had not yet joined the competition. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Greater Western Sydney’s season was ended by Geelong at Optus Stadium on Friday night.

Between the final siren of the semi-final loss to the Cats and the start of the 2022 season, expect Toby Greene, who did apologise to the playing group during the week, to get a talking to, ruckman Shane Mumford to hang up his boots, again, and Jacob Hopper to commit to a new contract with the Giants.

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Leon Cameron said the group was shattered after the 35-point loss, flat and upset. While they looked forward to being back in Sydney with family and friends, the Giants are first coming to terms with the empty feeling of Friday night’s defeat.

Cameron expects that the club will opt to go hard at the draft in the pre-season, in a bid to return to the finals for what will be the sixth time in seven seasons.

“You always look to add value to your list,” Cameron said after the loss.

“We have done a good job bringing experienced players in the past – (Matt) de Boer and (Lachlan) Keefe. I am bullish about going to the draft again.

“We have some good picks and no doubt we’ll probably go there.”

The ruck is one area the Giants will need to look at after it appears Mumford’s career, that started at Geelong in 2008, has finally come to an end, after 216 games.

Mumford played 14 games this season, his seventh for the Giants, eighth if you include the season (2018) he had off to box.

But Cameron said that the imposing big man was emotional after the game, and that while no decision was made, it was probably his last.

“It’s probably highly unlikely (he’ll play on),” Cameron said. “He’s retired a couple of times, Mummy.

“It was an emotional time after the game. You could clearly see he was shattered.

“For a player who was probably only going to play four or five games and coach the young fellas in the ruck, it turned out to play a bit more than we first thought.

“He’s 35, banged up and can hardly move. But it’s probably more unlikely than likely but we’ll search our way through that in the next couple of months.”

Mumford (R) kicked a goal in the Giants’ semi-final loss. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Mumford (R) kicked a goal in the Giants’ semi-final loss. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

One player that Cameron expects to see running around next season is Hopper.

The 24-year-old finished his sixth season on Friday night with his 107th game. The highly-rated midfielder would attract attention from several clubs if he remained unsigned.

But Cameron doesn’t expect that to remain the case for too long.

“I am confident Jacob will put pen to paper,” Cameron said.

“He has settled in Sydney, owns his house. All indicators are he’ll be at our footy club. Over the upcoming (trade) period, it would be good to be a quiet one for us.”

Over the next few months, Cameron also expects to sit down with Greene and discuss the forward’s controversial “ump bump” that rubbed him out of Friday night’s semi-final.

Greene was the only Giant named in this year’s All-Australian team. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Greene was the only Giant named in this year’s All-Australian team. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Greene has a growing reputation for being a hothead and Cameron admits it’s something that needs work. But he doesn’t believe Greene’s absence was the sole reason why the Giants lost to the Cats.

“I understand (Toby’s) a huge talking point and he’s a wonderful player for us,” Cameron said.

“We know things didn’t go to plan last week. He needs to put his hand up. When the dust settles in the next couple of months, we have to make sure he is out there more times than not. He’s not only great for our footy club, he’s great for the game.

“We have some challenges; and we’re not going to hide or shy away from that. we’ll work through them over the pre-season.

“(It’s) a bit harsh in saying that (we lost because he wasn’t on the ground). We had a number of players out; it’s not just one player who cost the team.

“In terms of his apology, absolutely. He was in front of the group and clearly remorseful throughout the week.

“It was an emotional 10-15 minutes in front of our entire group”

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