AAP AFL

Mum and GWS leaders aid Greene come of age

By AAP Newswire

Encouraged by his mum and teammates, GWS star Toby Greene has embraced a leadership role after misdemeanours marred the early part of his AFL career.

Greene became just the fifth man to captain GWS when he performed the duty in Saturday's 47-point win over Collingwood.

With co-captain Phil Davis pulling out of the game on Friday, all five of the Giants leadership group were missing through injury.

"(Giants coach) Leon (Cameron) asked and I jumped at the opportunity," said Greene, who couldn't recall captaining a side side since Year 7 at school.

"I thought it would be a great chance to stand up and it's been something I've been working on over the last few years, so it was a great honour to lead the club.

"Probably mum was more happy than me but it was a pretty cool experience."

Cameron said the leadership group had done a lot of work with Greene and praised the player's mother for her influence on his development.

"His mum is a superstar, she's a star person and she probably keeps telling Toby how good he can be, not just as a player but also his experiences in helping our young group," Cameron said.

Successfully converted from a midfielder to an All Australian half forward, GWS foundation player Greene made a strong return to the former role in the win over the Magpies and has become one of the Giants' most influential figures.

Along the journey he has also generated his share of unwanted headlines.

He was fined $2500 for an unlawful assault on a bouncer in Melbourne in 2014 and the club fined and suspended him for drinking alcohol while injured and failing to notify it of his arrest.

Greene also incurred fines or suspensions for a variety of on-field offences including rough conduct, striking, spitting, misconduct and umpire contact and attracted scrutiny for his kung-fu style of kicking in some marking contests.

Greene acknowledged he would have been an unlikely candidate for a leadership role in his early years at GWS.

"I certainly wouldn't have been given the opportunity a few years ago," Greene said.

"It's something I've been working on behind the scenes but I'll continue to work on it, but hopefully I won't have to do it again this year."

Davis is expected to return next week but Cameron pointed out, even before Saturday's game, that Greene was a leader of sorts at the Giants.

"Off the field he had his misdemeanour five years ago, and people think 'can he be a leader?' He absolutely can," Cameron said.

"He's a spiritual leader for us, but equally he's working hard to be one of our official leaders.

"There's no doubt the steps he's taken the last three or four months have been outstanding, considering he's had some injury issues he's had to deal with."