Reigning club champion Tim Taranto will play his first game of the season against the Brisbane Lions at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday. 

After injuring his shoulder just minutes into the first practice match of the season, Taranto will return to the side in round seven with the COVID-19 shutdown proving a stroke of luck for the superstar mid. 

“We know it’s been an unusual year and I guess one of the positives for Tim is that he’s missed just six games of footy after his shoulder reconstruction,” coach Leon Cameron said.

"He’s been incredibly diligent with his rehab, as we knew he would be, and after a good strong hit-out at reserves level last week, he’s absolutely ready to come back in.

“We’re looking forward to what he can add to our midfield who are really keen to step up after last week.” 

Coach Cameron has also recalled young midfielder Jye Caldwell as well as small forward Zac Langdon with the pair both standouts at the lower level over the past few weeks.

“Jye and Zac have been in great form in our practice matches and thoroughly deserve their spots,” Cameron said. 

“Jye was probably a little unlucky to go out of the side in the first place but he’s really cracked in and worked hard across the past few weeks and we’re excited to give him an opportunity again. 

“Zac has played a lot more up the ground and shown us what he’s capable of with his strong tackling and ability to put pressure on.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what they both can produce on Saturday in what will be a tight and tough battle against one of the top sides in the competition.

“The Lions are one of the favourites for a reason and we’re excited by the challenge at home in front of our members and fans again.”

Former captain Callan Ward goes out of the side after a knee injury during last week’s match against the Power while young midfielders Tom Green and Jackson Hately have been omitted.

Saturday will mark coach Leon Cameron’s 150th game in charge with the GIANTS’ second-ever coach to be awarded life membership of the club.

Tickets are still available for Saturday afternoon’s semi-final re-match, click here to purchase yours today. 

Round 7

GIANTS v Brisbane Lions
Saturday, July 18 at 1:45pm
GIANTS Stadium 

FB: Aidan Corr, Phil Davis, Heath Shaw
HB: Lachie Whitfield, Lachlan Keeffe, Nick Haynes
C: Harry Perryman, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly
HF: Brent Daniels, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
FF: Harry Himmelberg, Jeremy Finlayson, Zac Langdon
RR: Shane Mumford, Jacob Hopper, Matt de Boer 

Interchange: Jye Caldwell, Lachie Ash, Tim Taranto, Daniel Lloyd 

In: Jye Caldwell, Tim Taranto, Zac Langdon
Out: Callan Ward (knee), Jackson Hately (omitted), Tom Green (omitted) 

Emergencies: Jackson Hately, Sam Jacobs, Matt Buntine, Bobby Hill