AFL: GWS recruit Brett Deledio is battling a calf injury heading into the 2017 season.
STAR GWS recruit Brett Deledio is making slow progress in his recovery from a calf injury but still plans to play in his new sides’ season-opener.
Deledio, who made the switch from Richmond during last year’s trade period, struggled with calf and achilles issues in his last two seasons at Punt Rd.
CALF INJURY: GWS EXPECTS DELEDIO TO PLAY ROUND 1
The 29-year-old’s preparation again hit a hurdle at his new home when the problem resurfaced in early February.
“The calf’s going well. I’ve made a fair bit of progress (but) it’s been very slow and steady,” Deledio told Fox Footy on Monday.
“Obviously I’ve had a few issues and they’ve wanted to take it easy and get it right.
“I’m still pushing to try and play at least a half in (their last pre-season game) but if I don’t, that’s not the end of the world.”
GWS opens its 2017 premiership campaign against Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, March 26.
Deledio played 140 consecutive games from 2007 to 2014 before his durability waned.
“It has been (frustrating) … it’s not something I’m used to getting my head around because I had such a good run there for a while,” he said.
“But it’s part and parcel (of the game) … I’ve been very blessed with how my body has held up in the past.
“It’s just a small hiccup and I’ll get myself right.” Deledio, a former No.1 draft pick, played 243 games for the Tigers before the fan favourite made the shock decision to seek greener pastures. The Giants sent first and third-round draft picks to Richmond in return for the two-time All Australian after his preferred trade to Geelong failed to materialise.
“Things had stalled with Geelong (but) I knew the time had come for me to seek a fresh start.” Deledio said.
“I had to explore other options.
“I had a quick meeting with the Bulldogs but I think my heart was alway set on coming to the Giants once I’d met with the guys.”
Deledio is feeling rejuvenated by the move after his love of the game diminished last year as his body let him down and the Tigers struggled through a disappointing eight-win season.