GWS star Toby Greene's short-term playing future will be decided on Thursday when the AFL's appeal against the length of his three-match suspension is heard.
Greene was banned by the independent AFL tribunal in August for making intentional contact with umpire Matt Stevic during the Giants' elimination final win over Sydney.
However, the AFL subsequently challenged the ruling on the grounds that "the sanction imposed was manifestly inadequate".
At the time, league boss Gillon McLachlan said he found the length of the suspension "personally hard to reconcile" with the fact a jury of former players declared Greene guilty of an "aggressive, demonstrative and disrespectful" interaction with Stevic.
The AFL's appeal was delayed until the end of the season at the Giants' request as they focused on their finals campaign, which ended in a semi-final defeat to Geelong with Greene sidelined.
As it stands, Greene will sit out at least the opening two rounds of the 2022 season.
The AFL will push for a suspension of at least six matches - as it did during the initial tribunal hearing - which would mean Greene will miss the opening five rounds next year.
"Respect for umpires and the safety of umpires in our game is what our sport is built on and must be protected," AFL football operations manager Andrew Dillon said in a statement confirming the appeal last month.
"As the keeper of the code, the AFL has a responsibility to act in the interests of all in the sport."
Greene filled in as GWS captain when regular skipper Stephen Coniglio was injured last season and is in contention to take on the role full-time.
The 28-year-old's leadership qualities are highly regarded by the Giants despite his repeated indiscretions, which have led to 22 charges over his decade-long career.
Greene has missed a total of 11 matches through suspension and accrued $29,350 worth of fines.
Australian Associated Press