Shane Mumford’s fitness key to GWS success

Shane Mumford9Shane Mumford is fitter than he’s been in for almost five years, and must stay that way if the GWS Giants are to play finals for the first time this year.

“This is the best I’ve felt since I started getting the troubles with my knee in my first year at the Swans (2010),” Mumford told The Daily Telegraph.

“I’ve been able to do twice as much training prior to Christmas as I did last year. Even now I’m doing a lot more than I’ve been able to do the last few years.

“The more I can do now the better I’ll be coming into the season. I won’t have to rush to be fit for round one and touch wood I can keep it that way for the whole season.”

In a super-talented GWS line-up Jeremy Cameron is their most gifted player, but Mumford is their most important.

Last year all six of their wins came with the aggressive ruckman in the team, and when he was out they struggled.

When Mumford missed five games between rounds four and nine with a knee infection GWS lost all of them as well as their defensive intensity.

After conceding 67 points (v Swans), 95 points (v Saints) and 47 (v Demons) in the opening rounds they then let in scores of 110 (v Bulldogs), 137 (v Crows), 134 (v Suns), 132 (v Port), 188 (v Eagles) and 154 (v Tigers).

“We had to take a look at ourselves after those losses,” Mumford said.

“The standard we set early in the year was very high especially with our tackling and pressure. We dropped away and so did our leadership but to finish the way we did was a massive credit to the guys.”

The absence of Phil Davis (kidney injury) didn’t help the defence much either but Mumford’s ability to restrict opposition teams at centre bounces and clearances cannot be underestimated.

Winning the Kevin Sheedy Medal from just 17 games in his debut season is a measure of just how highly he’s valued at the Tom Wills Oval.

The signings of Ryan Griffin and Joel Patfull has bolstered the Giants experience again but Mumford’s broad shoulders can again expect to carry a large slice of the load in 2015.

“We have to continue to work hard and this pre-season has been massive,” Mumford said.

“The club has never been through one this tough before. For these young guys to be pushing through that is great, you can see them getting better week by week and month by month. The feeling is much better than this time last year and the results will come if we just keep pushing.”

The 28-year-old watched last year’s Grand Final in Berlin after he talked his way into the only venue in the German capital which was showing the season finale.

He was as surprised as many at the size of the Hawks winning margin.

“Everything the Swans could do wrong they did and the Hawks were brilliant,” Mumford said.

“The Swans were lacking aggression but there were a lot of other things that went wrong.

“They’ll bounce back this year and that will inspire them to go further again.”