GWS Giants are facing being without Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene for Saturday’s preliminary final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
GWS Giants are facing being without Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene for Saturday’s preliminary final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.

Whitfield issues Giant rally cry after surgery shock

Lachie Whitfield might have been ruled out of the preliminary final, but he's left teammates with an impassioned rally cry to take on Collingwood like it's a schoolyard fight.

Bracing to enter the cauldron-like atmosphere of up to 80,000 rabid Magpies fans baying for blood, Whitfield has implored the Giants to embrace a siege mentality at the MCG.

As if the threat of suspension hanging over Toby Greene hadn't stacked the odds against GWS enough, Whitfield's shock surgery to remove his appendix has only exacerbated the mission that awaits.

Whitfield copped an accidental knee to the back from Brisbane star Eric Hipwood last weekend, but the Giants don't believe that has contributed to the appendicitis.

Coach Leon Cameron once returned from appendix surgery within 10 days and is adamant Whitfield will do the same should GWS qualify for the grand final.

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Together Whitfield and Greene are the two most influential Giants, but if GWS were looking for some positive reinforcement after the cruel double blow they need look no further than the whiz kid laid out in an operating theatre.

Rather than be everybody's second team, the Giants are much maligned in Melbourne where punters see them as nothing more than the AFL's Frankenstein creation.

GWS Giants are facing being without Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene for Saturday’s preliminary final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.
GWS Giants are facing being without Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene for Saturday’s preliminary final. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images.

Whitfield says that hatred is only fuelling the fire for the Giants and he called on teammates to simply have each other's backs when the bell rings at the MCG.

"We play better when we play on the edge. If the crowd are booing us it's probably egging that on if anything. (Wearing it as a badge of honour) is a good way of looking at it," said Whitfield.

"It's us against them at times isn't it. When you've got a great tight bunch of people and have a really good culture and friendship like we do, it's almost like going to the fight in the schoolyard.

"If it's you versus them, you've got your mate's back at all times, and you play for your mate next to you.

"I have sensed it. The boos are growing, which if anything just puts a smile on my face. How good is footy when this is happening."

Its' been a nightmare 24 hours for GWS, with Greene's suspension controversially upheld and Whitfield rushed to hospital almost simultaneously.

Whitfield was complaining of soreness on Monday following a nasty but accidental knee he received in the win over the Lions, but GWS medical staff believe the development that he needs his appendix out may just be freakish and horrendous timing.

"Obviously Lachie got hit pretty hard last week in the game, in a fair knock. That's just the way it is," said Cameron.

"In terms of trying to say did that lead towards his appendix, I think our doctor said no. I couldn't tell you."

Cameron said there was no denying the club was rocked by the extraordinary loss of Whitfield, one of the most influential players in the competition.

"Lachie went to hospital late yesterday afternoon. He was complaining of some stomach issues Tuesday morning after a sleepless night Monday night. And then thought it was OK Tuesday," Cameron said.

"He just progressed in not the right manner we wanted yesterday afternoon, and by about 7-8pm he was in hospital.

"We're not going to sit here and deny that we're flat that he's not playing. I'm not going to say he's happy about this. It is what it is.

"He'll recover and he'll put his hand up if we're good enough to progress."

News Corp Australia


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