ALL-AUSTRALIAN key defender Sam Taylor is facing a delayed start to the pre-season after undergoing a wrist reconstruction following a career-best year in 2022. 

The 23-year-old was rewarded with his first blazer and first Kevin Sheedy Medal at the conclusion of a difficult season for Greater Western Sydney. 

AFL.com.au understands the West Australian underwent surgery in September to fix the injury he has managed for years. 

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The issue caused him pain across a 2022 campaign where Taylor established himself as one of the premier backmen in the game, finishing ahead of co-captain Stephen Coniglio to win his maiden best and fairest. 

Taylor will complete a modified training program ahead of the Christmas break, but is expected to return to full training early in the new year. 

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Matthew Lloyd and Damian Barrett praise GWS key defender Sam Taylor for his sensational season on Access All Areas

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GWS also expects two-time best and fairest winner Lachie Whitfield to transition back into full training in January after undergoing ankle surgery at the end of a disappointing home and away season for the club. 

The 28-year-old chose to play through the pain and carry the injury in the second half of the season, despite the detrimental effect it had on his output. 

Lachie Whitfield celebrates a goal during round seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Ruckman Matt Flynn also underwent similar surgery at the end of the season and is expected to build up his training program after Christmas. 

Young gun Finn Callaghan is also in the rehab group at Giants HQ ahead of the start of pre-season training for the club's first-to-fourth-year players next Monday. 

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The teenager has endured a frustrating start to life in the AFL since being selected with pick No.3 in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft. 

Callaghan arrived at the club with a foot injury he suffered in his draft year and was nursed through his first pre-season in the harbour city, before it continued to cause him trouble throughout the 2022 season. 

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The Sandringham Dragons product played the first three games in the VFL before earning a debut against St Kilda in round six. He played five games in a row before the foot injury resurfaced and wiped out his second half of the season. 

Callaghan went under the knife at the conclusion of the season to correct the problem and has returned to the club, completing a modified program on the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill. 

The Giants expect the young star to return to full training in January and remain confident he will be available to play in round one.