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A BATTLE with Shane Mumford in the ruck can be a painful experience but former Giant Andrew Phillips can’t wait tangle with his ex-teammate when GWS and Carlton meet at Spotless Stadium.
Knowledge is power and Phillips’ confidence is born out of doing battle with Mumford for two years on the training track where he learned plenty of the big man’s tricks.
“Shane is a big challenge for any ruckman,” Phillips told The Saturday Telegraph.
“I spent a fair amount of time on the training track with him and he’s in very good form at the moment so I’ll just have to knuckle down and get on with the job.”
Phillips is one of the original Giants and started his career brightly when he was elevated to the senior list midway through their debut season and played nine games. But a serious hamstring injury restricted him to just one game in the next two seasons and Mumford’s arrival moved him further down the pecking order.
He played four games last year and was still very much in the Giants future planning before former GWS now Carlton list manager Steve Silvagni gave him a call.
“It wasn’t like I was dying to get out (of the Giants),” Phillips said.
“It was just an opportunity which presented itself. It wasn’t an easy or straight forward decision but I took it and it’s certainly working out so far. It was funny the way it worked out.”
Phillips won’t be alone when it comes to ex-Giants at Carlton, the Blues could easily start their own branch of the GWS past players club. Small forwards Jed Lamb and Liam Sumner and defender Lachie Plowman all moved to Princes Park in the off-season and will line up against the Giants.
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“I really enjoyed my time in Sydney,” Phillips said.
“There’s a fair bit of history I’ve got with the Giants boys. I’m looking forward to running out against them.”
GWS players have a reputation for liking a chat on the footy field but Phillips won’t be joining in the conversation preferring to leave the job to Lamb.
“I’m not much of a talker out on the field,” Phillips said.
“I’m better off just letting Lamby do his thing, he loves it and will be in it up to his neck.”
Phillips and the Blues are enjoying resurgence under the guidance of fellow Tasmanian Brendan Bolton who has transformed them into a formidable force with six wins from their first 12 games, more than they won in all of 2015.
“Having a teaching background definitely helps Brendan as a coach,” Phillips said.
“He gets his message through to the players really well. It’s been a big job because it’s a whole new game plan and a whole new style. But the ways he’s drilled it into us and the way he’s gone about it has had a really good response from the boys.”