GIANTS veteran Brett Deledio will play his first opening-round fixture since 2015 when he runs out against the Western Bulldogs at UNSW Canberra Oval on Sunday.
Deledio played just seven games for the GIANTS last season because of calf and Achilles
The 30-year-old only played the second match of the JLT Community Series against Sydney and had little impact, but despite Deledio's lack of match play coach Leon Cameron confirmed his selection on Thursday.
Cameron said Deledio's summer had been tailored specifically to have him fit and strong to start the season, and everything had gone according to plan.
"He's got a lot of running in his legs, so we're really confident that’s going to hold him in good stead," Cameron said.
"That was a deliberate plan to build him up that way; it wasn't through necessity because of injury.
"It was all about him timing his run."
The GIANTS will take on a Bulldogs team missing its two best key defenders in Dale Morris (knee) and Marcus Adams (ankle), but Cameron won't be altering his forward structure to try to
The GIANTS will have Jeremy Cameron, Jonathon Patton and Harry Himmelberg inside 50 on Sunday at various stages, but don't expect the home side to go tall to attempt to exploit the Dogs' injury worries.
"We'll do exactly what we've planned for the entire summer," Cameron said.
"If you start looking at each line of the opposition side and changing your selection then you get yourself in a bit of strife, and it means you're not backing your own system in.
"At times you'll see Patton and Himmelberg and Cameron down there, at times you'll just see Himmelberg and Cameron, and at times you'll just see Patton.
"We've got the flexibility with Himmelberg and Cameron to play them up the ground, on the wing, or as onballers, and we look forward to that."
Just like Deledio, gun forward Toby Greene (toe) had an interrupted summer and only joined the main group in February, but he returned against the Swans and has been training strongly for the past month, so Cameron had no issue picking him for the Bulldogs clash.
"There's probably a unique set of circumstances with some players on every list and he sits in that bracket," Cameron said.
"His competitiveness is through the roof and we know that.
"He's been training for three or four weeks, so we feel as though he can play his normal amount of game time at the level we've seen from him in the past."