Dogs back Giansiracusa
Not over yet: Injured Bulldog Daniel Giansiracusa, with coach Brendan McCartney, is likely to play on next season. Photo: Getty Images
THE Western Bulldogs expect veteran forward Daniel Giansiracusa to bounce back from injury and play a key role in guiding the club's young talent through next season.
Giansiracusa had the knee injury he sustained in Sunday's loss to Geelong examined yesterday and the club will learn in the next few days how serious the damage is and whether it will have an effect on how he starts next pre-season.
''It's one of those things that might have been a two-week injury or a six- to eight-week injury,'' football manager James Fantasia said.
It's understood Giansiracusa had being weighing up his future at stages this year. But the club expects the 30-year-old to continue on into 2013, the final year of his contract.
It is news that will comfort former teammate Nathan Brown, who believes the Dogs need Giansiracusa and the rest of their core group of experienced players - such as captain Matthew Boyd, Brian Lake, Robert Murphy and others - to keep playing and help the team remain competitive while the club's younger players learn on the job.
The Dogs have lost two veterans - Ryan Hargrave and Lindsay Gilbee - to retirements this year.
''They will need leadership out there through, what I think, is going to be another tough year again next year … and Gia offers that to all the young boys down there,'' said Brown, a former two-time leading goalkicker at the Dogs.
''You still need senior players to teach those kids through the rebuilding phase they are in.
''They are not necessarily going to play in the next premiership … but while they are young and are going to take a good beating, they will need those senior players around to help them through.''
Of his 12 seasons, 2012 has been one of the more frustrating for Giansiracusa, who will finish up missing five games through injury, the most he has sat out since 2006.
Yet he has still managed to deliver a solid contribution and is almost certain to claim the club's goalkicking award, even though he will miss Sunday's final-round match against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.
The belief that the Dogs' top-end talent, such as Boyd (30), Murphy (30), Lake (30), Daniel Cross (29), Dale Morris (29) and Giansiracusa, need to play on next year links up with the recruiting direction the club will take during summer.
Coach Brendan McCartney said yesterday the Dogs would not be an aggressive player in the trade period, an indication that the club is not trying to bring in recruits from outside to address the lack of players aged in their mid-20s on the list.
Instead, the Dogs will go to the draft to add to its stockpile of emerging talent and, that being the case, having hardened veterans around next year will be crucial.
''Our No.1 philosophy is to train our own people up,'' McCartney said.
''We firmly believe that we have enough talent here and we have the right type of people in the young group that are learning a lot off our experienced players.
''It's highly likely we will continue to bring young people to this club and give them the best education we can.''
The failure of the Dogs' young key forwards has been highlighted all season, but McCartney said that didn't necessarily mean the club would target more young forwards. ''We will just look for the best players we can get our hands on,'' he said.