GWS Giants star Phil Davis. Photo: Lannon Harley
Two-time premiership player Josh Hunt says Australian football might just be a game, but Greater Western Sydney co-captain Phil Davis' serious kidney injury shows there can still be dire consequences from playing it.
Hunt backed Davis's mental strength and determination to help the Giants defender to return the AFL, similar to how Geelong gun Tom Lonergan managed to do six years ago.
Davis has been in hospital since the Giants' historic first AFL win over the Sydney Swans and only moved out of the intensive-care unit on Sunday after he copped an accidental knee in the back from Craig Bird.
While he played out the game, the 23-year-old was later rushed to hospital and has been there since. It's unclear when he will be released and no timeframe has been set for a return to football.
Hunt has been through a similar situation before at his former club Geelong, where Lonergan lost a kidney following a heavy collision in 2006. Lonergan didn't play for two years before returning to become one of the best defenders in the game.
While Hunt said Davis was in a slightly different situation, having kept the kidney he injured, he said Davis and Lonergan were both equally head strong.
"People say it's just a game, but there's some dire consequences that can happen," Hunt said.
"That's thankfully something you don't see a whole lot of and unfortunately Phil was on the wrong end of one.
"Phil's one of those really head-strong guys and he's really determined and no different to what Tom is."
Hunt thought he would've played his 200th game for Geelong, but he was delisted by the club he won two premierships with after 198 games at the end of last season.
But the Giants offered the 32-year-old a lifeline and he'll bring up the milestone when the Giants play St Kilda in Melbourne on Saturday.
So far, he hasn't lost a game in his short career with the Giants following their rousing win over the Swans in round one.
It's hard to top the two grand-final triumphs with the Cats in 2007 and 2011, but Hunt said the satisfaction from the win over the Swans was right up there.
Hunt said his 200th was just another game, but he'd have a couple of beers afterwards and reflect on his career, which includes representing Australia against Ireland in the 2008 International Rules series.
"If I was being honest, I'd thought that if I was going to play 200 I'd play it at Geelong, but in saying that I'm rapt to be up here and playing this year and playing my 200th here," he said.
"After sitting back and having a chat with Heath Shaw [about the win over the Swans] on a satisfaction scale, obviously there's the premierships and the finals [but] that was really satisfying just to see the hard work paying off that the guys have done over the off-season."
Hunt, along with fellow recruit Shaw, slotted into the Giants back line alongside Davis.
He said Davis would have been the natural opponent for Saints captain Nick Riewoldt, who led his team to victory over Melbourne in round one.
He says it is up to the Giants' defensive unit to try and quell the senior Saints' influence.
"Nick's a great player and Phil probably would've had that job, and it's a massive a job and I'm pretty sure it's not going to go to one person," Hunt said.
"Nick's just one guy in the forward line and he demands a lot of respect, but at the same time we've got to look at their whole team and make sure we don't have other people popping up because we're only looking at one player."
After the Saints, the Giants play Melbourne at the Sydney Showgrounds and could go to Canberra to play the Western Bulldogs at Manuka Oval on April 12 undefeated.