Giants eye rebound against Bombers in AFL

Dashing midfielder Lachie Whitfield will return to the GWS line-up for their clash with Essendon.
Dashing midfielder Lachie Whitfield will return to the GWS line-up for their clash with Essendon.

GWS are looking for a strong response to two rough AFL losses when they take on Essendon in their high-stakes AFL clash at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.

The Giants, who fell away against Sydney last week after losing to Gold Coast in the previous round, face a confident Essendon side coming off consecutive wins over Adelaide and North Melbourne.

GWS sit two points behind the eighth-placed Bombers and need to win to keep place with the finals contenders.

"Every game's hugely important. I mean, clearly, it gets more and more pointed as we get towards the back end of the year," coach Leon Cameron said.

"It's a huge challenge for us. We were disappointing with our third quarter last week, clearly, after playing a really good brand in the first half and the week before going down by a point after messing the first quarter up.

"We've just got to be more consistent for longer. We understand that and that's going to give ourselves a chance to take it up to Essendon who clearly are playing some great footy (in) their last two games.

"They've had a very strong year and been one of the most consistent sides in it.

"So we're under no illusions it's massive but equally I want us to improve and close the gap (between our) best and worst and we get another opportunity this weekend."

Essendon welcome back explosive midfielder Dylan Shiel for his first game since a knee injury in round two, along with veteran David Zaharakis.

Cameron was pleased with skipper Stephen Coniglio's return from an ankle injury against Sydney last week but was wary of throwing the 27-year-old fully into the midfield fray.

"We're being really careful with Stephen because of the long period out, that bit by bit he has more midfield time," he said.

"You can't just sort of go in there and have 20 minutes of midfield time every quarter for four quarters, when you've been out for that long."

GWS regain dashing midfielder Lachie Whitfield while ruckman Shane Mumford and youngster Lachie Ash return, with Callan Ward managed.

Josh Kelly has been named to play despite an ankle injury.

The Giants are still without Toby Greene, who is in isolation alongside Matt De Boer, Kieren Briggs and Jake Stein.

Australian Associated Press