GREATER Western Sydney’s injury crisis has worsened, with Devon Smith set to miss up to 12 weeks with a knee injury.
Small forward Smith tore his right meniscus at training on Friday and will undergo surgery early next week.
Former Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer will make his club debut in place of Smith on Saturday, when the Giants host Richmond at Spotless Stadium.
The Giants have become AFL premiership favourites this year despite long-term setbacks for Ryan Griffen, Brett Deledio, Nick Haynes, Matt Buntine, Adam Kennedy, Jacob Hopper and Tendai Mzungu.
This week they added Smith and vice-captain Stephen Coniglio, who is set to miss 10 weeks with an ankle injury, to their injury list.
“Every team goes through it at some point. It’s just our turn at the moment,” GWS coach Leon Cameron said on Friday.
“He’s changed direction and tweaked his knee … he’s torn his meniscus, which can vary from six to 12 weeks.
“Dev’s disappointed, we’re disappointed for him but we’ve got a game tomorrow.
“You don’t expect to lose players the day before the match but it is what it is, the positive side is Matt de Boer comes into the 22.”
De Boer was delisted by the Dockers last year but given a career lifeline when the Giants selected him with pick No.58 in the draft.
The 27-year-old suffered a hamstring injury earlier this year but has impressed in the seconds since returning.
“His last four weeks he’s started to get into some really good rhythm,” Cameron said.
“He’s a really good role player, he’s hard at it … no doubt he’s going to be really hungry tomorrow.”
Cameron indicated de Boer would spend some time in the forward line but also faced the onerous task of combating the Tigers’ star-studded midfield.
“There’s no doubt he will find himself in there against Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia. They’ve got a really good midfield,” he said.