Josh Hunt knows he will only be valuable this year if he can stay healthy and injury-free.

Josh Hunt knows he will only be valuable this year if he can stay healthy and injury-free. Photo: Jay Cronan

Josh Hunt says he is ''walking a tightrope'' this pre-season to ensure the glandular fever that so interrupted his 2013 season does not do so again in his rebirth year at Greater Western Sydney.

Just two shy of reaching the 200-game milestone, Hunt has signed a one-year deal with the Giants to act as a mentor to the club's younger players and to also make the transition into assistant coaching.

But the former Cat knows he will only be valuable this year if he can stay healthy and injury-free, both factors that restricted him to just 12 games in his final season at the club with which he won two premierships.

''It sort of felt like I had an interrupted pre-season this time last year with glandular fever and what not, so even though I was playing footy at times last year, I felt like it was affected,'' Hunt said.

''So I thought if I can get through a full pre-season this year - I'm only 31 - I've still got good footy left in me.

''The guys up here know exactly how much training you need to get in to be able to perform. And being one of the older guys as well, it's just about finding that balance between getting as much work in as I can and not overtraining and getting any detrimental effects from it. It's almost been like a tightrope walk.''

Making the situation even more difficult is the fact Hunt has had, by design, a late start to the pre-season due to the fact Geelong went deep into September last year and also because of personal reasons - a marriage, honeymoon and moving his family interstate.

But Hunt is focused on getting over ''a few little niggles'' and making sure his body is ready for the intra-club and practice matches, believing that game-based fitness will be most important in this, his 14th pre-season.

The left-footer has been told he won't be managed this year, with Giants coach Leon Cameron putting ''no ceiling'' on the number of games Hunt will be asked to provide his experience and elite kicking skills in defence.

Coming off just one win in a second-year-blues season for the expansion club, GWS is hoping its core group will experience a sharp spike in improvement, leading to the type of bumper third year that Gold Coast enjoyed in 2013.

''First year you get a real shock, second year you know what is coming so it is a bit of a mental battle, but the third year I reckon you start to find your niche,'' Hunt said of his younger teammates.