Shane Mumford takes a mark against the Tigers. Photo: Getty Images
If you see a giant mummy wrapped in cotton wool walking the streets of Canberra, it's probably Greater Western Sydney ruckman Shane Mumford, who's hoping it's third time lucky to play an AFL game for the Giants at Manuka Oval on Saturday.
While Mumford played in the NAB Cup game in the ACT earlier this year, a mystery knee infection meant he missed GWS's first two home-and-away games in the nation's capital this season.
The 198-centimetre ruckman joked the coaching staff might take extra care to ensure he gets on the park against North Melbourne this weekend.
"I'm really just hoping that I can make it out on to the field this time," Mumford laughed.
"I'll be taking every precaution possible that's for sure, wrap myself in cotton wool and not go near anything."
Mumford was set to play against the Western Bulldogs in round four in April, but his knee swelled up and he went to hospital to have it drained the morning of the game.
He watched from the stands with a PICC line – a peripherally inserted central catheter – feeding antibiotics into his system to fight possible infections.
The PICC line was a portable drip, with a line that ran into his arm, but it caused some blood clots and forced him to miss the Giants' second game in Canberra – against Port Adelaide in round seven.
Again, Mumford watched from the stands.
"I got down there and my knee had blown up, we still don't exactly know what caused it, but it blew up and I ended up having to go to hospital to have it washed out and they treated it as if it was an infection," he said.
"So I had a PICC line in my arm to give me antibiotics 24 hours a day to help kill off whatever the infection could have been and then I clotted around the PICC line that I had in there.
"That was why I missed the next game down in Canberra because I was still recovering from the blood clots I had in my arm."
Touch wood, Canberra will finally get to see the Giants' big recruit go at it for premiership points.
He will be up against North tapper Todd Goldstein, one of the AFL's leading rucks.
Mumford said they were similar players, both spending plenty of time in the middle and bringing a physical approach to the game.
"Todd is one of the better ruckmen in the competition, and has been for a couple of years now, so I've really got my work cut out for me," he said.
"I'm hoping I can nullify him and the midfielders around me will make me look good."
The Kangaroos have had an inconsistent season, beating most of the top-four teams, but struggling against some of the bottom clubs.
Mumford said if teams turned up just a little bit off, then any game was a danger game.
It's the first time North has played in Canberra since walking out on the nation's capital at the end of the 2006 season for the riches of the Gold Coast.
The Roos have since struck a deal to play a couple of home games in Hobart.
Mumford hoped the Kangaroos' decision to stop selling home games to the ACT government would be the Giants' gain.
"Every time we go down there, you seem to see more and more orange around the town," he said.
"If we can get the whole town orange over the next couple of years, that'd be great for us."
The Giants have made two changes to their side, bringing in Jed Lamb and Matt Buntine for Josh Hunt (hip) and Sam Frost (omitted).
AFL ROUND 20
Saturday: GWS Giants v North Melbourne
At Manuka Oval, 1.45pm
Tickets available from Ticketek