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15th of October 2018

Sport



Giants play it safe with Kelly but Keeffe back to take on Magpies

Now that running back Zac Williams has returned the Giants may move All Australian half-back Lachie Whitfield into the midfield to help fill the considerable void left by Kelly.

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Kelly's injury has paved the way for veteran Ryan Griffen, one of the Giants' most experienced finals player with 13, to return to the side. Griffen has not played since hurting his hamstring against the Swans in round 22.

"We toyed with the prospect of bringing him in last week but he needed another week," Cameron said. "He's had a good three or four weeks, he's been really good for us this year forward and in the middle of the ground.

"He's played in big finals so he knows what the MCG atmosphere will be like. To have the four guys back last week unscathed and Ryan back this weekend is a positive for us."

Keeffe, whose recall has come at the expense of youngster Harry Perryman, was recruited as a delisted free agent last year.

It could be a fairytale return to the September action for Keeffe, who along with former teammate Josh Thomas was suspended for two years after unknowingly taking a performance enhancing substance.

While Keeffe had to move north to continue his career, Thomas has become a key cog in a Magpies mobile forward line with 36 goals this season.

Keeffe, however, is likely to play in defence or could be used in the ruck as a back up for Rory Lobb, who has a mountainous task against All Australian Brodie Grundy.

"He's the ultimate role player," Cameron said.

An estimated crowd of 68,000 is expected through the turnstiles at the MCG, which will create a hostile atmosphere similar to that which the Giants encountered last year in the preliminary final against Richmond.

"It was not the crowd that got us, it was the footy we needed to play a little bit better," Cameron said. "That won't worry us, in fact they're looking forward to it."

Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald

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