Leon Cameron expects GIANTS forward Jesse Hogan to cope with extra attention from his former teammates when he confronts Fremantle for the first time since leaving the club.
Hogan sought a fresh start through a trade to the GIANTS 18 months ago after a two-year stint in his home town plagued by injuries, mental health issues and poor off-field behaviour.
The injury woes have continued in Sydney, limiting the 27-year-old to nine games in his first year at GIANTS and throwing up hurdles in his preparation this season.
But Hogan has settled back into action over the last fortnight and kicked two goals from 17 disposals in the round-three win over Gold Coast.
Both Hogan and the GIANTS (1-2) have the task of building on that platform when they meet Fremantle (2-1) in the clash at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
Coach Cameron backed Hogan to deal with the nerves and excitement that will come with playing in his home state for the first time since leaving the Dockers at the end of 2020.
"Jesse has got some close friends there, no doubt, so there'll probably be a little bit of niggle there, but that's what makes footy so enjoyable and so good to watch," Cameron said.
"He's looking forward to playing a strong brand of footy and playing his role for our team.
"That's being a presence ahead of the footy, applying pressure, being strong in the air and being a target.
"That's what he needs to bring this weekend."
Hogan kicked 40-plus goals in three of his four seasons at Melbourne before the ill-fated move to Fremantle.
He is seeking continuity this year in an attempt to rekindle his best form.
"If we can get Jesse playing 18 games of AFL footy in a season then we're winning that battle with some of the challenges that he's had," Cameron said.
"We've got two (so far), three this weekend, and hopefully it leads to more and more.
"He's in a good space and he knows the challenge he's got ahead this weekend."
Star GIANTS defender Nick Haynes will miss the Fremantle clash with an ankle injury and has been replaced in the side by promising forward Jake Riccardi.
The Dockers have been boosted by the return of ruckman Sean Darcy (ankle) and veteran midfielder David Mundy (virus protocols).
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