“It might be the recipe. I’m about 2kg lighter than what I was running around previously, and it appears my knee likes it, because I’ve pulled up a lot better knee-wise than I have recently,” he said.
“You don’t really notice it, but it’s got to have some effect with the cumulative load on your knees and joints. I certainly feel good now.”
Sickness may well prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Giants if it ends up bringing the best out of their chief ruckman, who has been carefully managed throughout his comeback season after a short-lived retirement. For him, the pre-finals bye was manna from heaven.
A refreshed and healthy Mumford will go head-to-head on Saturday with Tim English, his Bulldogs counterpart who also happened to miss the round 22 clash due to illness.
English is younger at 22 years old and taller by 7cm, but a good 10kg lighter than Mumford. Their aerial battle will be pivotal and will shape the duel at ground level between two of the AFL’s premier midfields, which could well decide the match.
Mumford knows where he can get the edge: sheer physicality.
“That’s what I’ve made a career on,” he said.
“He’s got a fair reach advantage on me, so it’s one of those ones where you’ve got to go a bit harder and try and keep them a foot further away with me being an undersized ruckman.
“If anything I’ll probably go in a little bit harder, it being a final.”
With the Giants and Bulldogs enjoying an increasingly spicy rivalry, it could be a match that is tailor-made for Mumford. But if GWS lose, will it be his last?
It’s an open question that is yet to be resolved, with Mumford shelving those conversations with coach Leon Cameron until they are out of the finals reckoning.
The fact he’s already gone through the “big hurrah” of retirement means he is in no rush, and feels no pressure to make a public announcement when the time comes.
“I’d love to go around again, because I do love doing what I do. But if the body’s just not up to it, you’ve got to make the tough decision,” Mumford said.
“If it happens I’ll just hang the boots up and that will be the end of it. There’ll be no need for a press conference to answer the same questions all over again. I’ve done that once – once will do.”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.