Callan Ward's on-field AFL season is over but his inspirational leadership will continue to help GWS's push for a maiden premiership.
Ward ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in Geelong on Saturday as the Giants secured a four-point victory over the Cats.
The 29-year-old was initially distraught but quickly composed himself then delivered a rousing speech at three-quarter time of what proved one of the greatest wins in the Giants' history.
Ward has remained in Melbourne and will soon undergo surgery.
Fellow co-captain Phil Davis, who has led GWS alongside Ward since the team's inaugural 2012 campaign, admitted the hard-nosed midfielder's setback was a blow.
"That hurts us," Davis told reporters on Tuesday.
"He'll be missed but I feel we can cover it ... Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto and the like filled that gap (against Geelong).
"It shows that we've got some significant players who can fill that role and Wardy will be helping them as much as possible.
"He's in unbelievable spirits. A mark of the man is how he responds in a time like that and he's been outstanding."
The key defender suggested Ward's wise words were a major reason his club recorded their first win in Geelong.
Davis, asked about the leadership void created by Ward's absence, noted the injured skipper's off-field guidance will remain as important as ever.
"But it just means on game day there's one less leader," Davis said.
"Does that mean I have to do a bit more? Probably.
"But it also means there's an opportunity for others to take up some slack."
Toby Greene (calf) headlines the list of contenders to take Ward's place in the team but GWS won't rush the match-winner back if not fully fit.
The Giants, one of six teams to begin the season 3-1, host Fremantle in Canberra on Saturday.
Former Docker Matt de Boer, having recently performed shutdown jobs on superstars Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield, is likely to tag 2015 Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe if the gun midfielder returns this weekend.
"He's doing a fantastic job and plays such an important role for us. He's just a selfless, team-orientated player and we love that," Davis said of de Boer.
"And there's not too much dodgy stuff that goes on off the ball either."
Australian Associated Press