The GIANTS will use Daniel Lloyd's surprise retirement as inspiration ahead of back-to-back virtual elimination finals. 

Lloyd, 31, who has played 18 of 21 games this season, told shocked teammates of his decision to call time on his AFL career on Thursday morning, just four games shy of reaching the 100-game milestone.


That target is still achievable should the GIANTS make the finals and coach Adam Kingsley is hoping the popular forward's announcement sparks his side to get back to winning ways.

"He ultimately made a decision around family and where the next phase of his life is going. It was completely his decision and it did catch a few people by surprise.

"Ultimately, he's been a great servant of our football club, we love him as a teammate and as a player.

"The guys will celebrate him, certainly today's training session was a lot about 'Lloydy' and it will provide a lot of energy for the group," Kingsley said.


The GIANTS head into Saturday afternoon's showdown at GIANTS Stadium against Essendon needing to win, along with a victory in the final round away to Carlton, in order to play finals.

Gun wingman Callaghan will miss a third straight game this weekend though with an Achilles injury and the GIANTS admit the issue may require further medical assessment.

"It's getting towards that, it's not there yet. This time next week if it hasn't settled and we're still a chance to play finals we might have to look at it," Kingsley said.

"He couldn't get through training today. He's still got a bit of discomfort. It's one of those things that can settle quickly, it just hasn't."

The GIANTS will welcome back small forward duo Brent Daniels and Toby Bedford from suspension and are hopeful that will help them rediscover the form that sparked a club-record seven-game winning run.

"I'll be a lot more confident with those two up front, doing what they've been doing, over the last three months. Since Toby's come into the team, he's been the number one pressure forward in the competition, he provides the game style that we like to play," Kingsley said.

No.1 draft pick Aaron Cadman is also eyeing a recall after slotting eight goals in the VFL on the weekend.


"It's certainly put his name in lights, so we'll have that discussion this afternoon to work out the team but across the whole season we've been really pleased with him. It's just a matter of us deciding which way to go," Kingsley said.

Of much comfort to Kingsley and the GIANTS, as they head into a do or die encounter against the Bombers, is the string of intense games they've already been involved in this season.

Only Collingwood has won more games than the GIANTS when trailing at three quarter time this season, while fourteen of the GIANTS' clashes in 2023 have been decided by under three goals.

"We embrace that sort of pressure. We've played in a lot of tight games, finals type games. I think the grounding for finals if we're good enough to make it is really strong and this game against Essendon will be no different, we're expecting a tough game and it is essentially an elimination final," Kingsley said.