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GIANTS Prepared to Improve MCG Record

Presser: Matt de Boer Matt de Boer spoke to journalists in a digital press conference this morning ahead of the round 8 clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.
Obviously the 'G has an aura about it and is the modern-day Colosseum, but we'll prepare as if it's any other stadium, and Leon has acknowledged that.
GIANTS tagger Matt de Boer

The GIANTS won't be spooked by a rare trip to the MCG to face Hawthorn on Sunday despite the club's underwhelming record at the Grand Final venue.

The GIANTS have lost 13 of their 15 games at the home of footy in Melbourne, including last year's semi-final clash with Collingwood, and the 2017 preliminary final against eventual premier Richmond.

The GIANTS, who has never played at the ground more than three times in a season, beat the Magpies there in round two last year, but secured its only other victory in round 21, 2014, when it upset Melbourne.

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GIANTS midfielder Matt de Boer has himself played at the 'G' more times than his club (18 times for six wins) and said coach Leon Cameron has addressed the club's supposed hoodoo ahead of this week's meeting with the Hawks.

"We treat it no different to (any other ground) to be honest," he said on Tuesday. 

"Obviously the 'G has an aura about it and is the modern-day Colosseum, but we'll prepare as if it's any other stadium, and Leon has acknowledged that.

"He told us it doesn't matter where we play and to just focus on our Monday to Friday preparation.

"We hadn't ever won down in Geelong until a few weeks ago (and we did that), so we hold no fears, we're not intimidated by the ground, and we'll go anywhere and take on anyone. 

"We'll have a bit of a walk on it (before the game) which is great, and we know that’s where the big game is going to be played in September, so we're really looking forward to delivering."

The GIANTS could have co-captain Phil Davis (ankle), as well as the club's past two club champions and All Australians Josh Kelly (adductor) and Lachie Whitfield (adductor), available to take on Hawthorn.

Pressure for positions in the GIANTS' best 22 has been non-existent over the past three seasons thanks to the club's crippling injury toll, and they've lost co-captain Callan Ward (knee) for the rest of this year. 

But with youngsters Daniel Lloyd, Brent Daniels, Jackson Hately and Isaac Cumming in solid form at senior level, Harry Perryman (lung) and Zac Langdon (foot) back playing in the reserves, and veteran Brett Deledio (calf) also not far away, Cameron's match committee meetings are going to get tougher as the season wears on. 

"All the players are acutely aware that this a team you want to be a part of, and once you have a spot on the bus you don't want to give it up," he said. 

"Competition for spots and the depth we've got is really important in taking us forward, it's great for our culture and for sustained success. 

"That’s absolutely crucial and we really reward the guys who are delivering in the NEAFL.

"We show clips of them in our meetings and acknowledge their performances and they know they're building excellent habits to be able to come in and play a role or even perform above that."

Cameron has rejuvenated the role of the tagger in his side this season and de Boer has relished the chance to take one or more of the opposition's best players each week. 

The former Fremantle midfielder has taken down Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin, Docker Bradley Hill, and star Geelong onballer Tim Kelly among others in 2019. 

The obvious choice would be to send de Boer to Hawks gun Jaeger O'Meara this week, but rebounding defender James Sicily, and wingmen Isaac Smith and Ricky Henderson could also find themselves with a shadow at the MCG. 

"Jaeger's a superstar player and he's very good mates with Stephen Coniglio, so if it does go that way I might have to get in Cogs' ear and find out a few things (to help me)," he said. 

"They've got a plethora of players I could go to, but we've got players they need to worry about as well. 

"Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper have elevated their games this year, and Stephen Coniglio is a superstar with the way he prepares and drags others along with him.

"I love running out there with those boys and being in the centre circle with them is a real honour."