Toby Greene has inspired an undermanned GWS Giants side in his first game as the club’s captain, kicking five goals in a gutsy win over Collingwood.
Coming into the match with an unenviable 0-3 record and without a host of big names including skipper Stephen Coniglio, Greene was electric from the start as the Giants ran out 14. 6. (90) to 9. 6. (60) winners at the MCG.
Greene picked up 18 disposals to go along with his five majors and also received a ringing endorsement from former skipper Callan Ward, who was also excellent with a game-high 37 disposals.
“I’ve got no doubt whatsoever that he can be a captain of this footy club,” Ward told Fox Footy after the game.
“At the moment we’ve got (Coniglio), who is doing a terrific job in his second season and obviously had a pretty tough run last year and has an injury now.
“I love the bloke, I absolutely love him as a person and as a footballer. He’s a superstar of the competition and he’s driving the standards all day, every day at the club and away from the club.
“On game day he’s our best player all the time and he’s just a guy that I like running out with on game day with and love spending time with.”
Both Greene and Ward also backed up under-fire coach Leon Cameron, rubbishing suggestions that he had lost the playing group in recent weeks.
“Leon is a terrific coach,” Ward said.
“He’s really close with his players and we have total respect for him. We’re really close with him and we stand by him even when he’s under pressure the boys are always on his side.”
“There is a lot of external noise but we know where we’re going and we’ve just got to keep building in the right path,” Greene added.
“(Cameron) probably reads it a fair bit, but we all stuck by him. He hasn’t had the greatest of weeks in the media but everyone’s listening to what he’s saying and he’s rewarding the right guys and that’s what you want in a footy club.”
It was a bitterly disappointing result for Collingwood, whose misery was compounded by a knee injury to star midfielder Taylor Adams in the second half.
Adams was substituted out of the game for Levi Greenwood after his knee bent awkwardly when a pack of players fell onto his leg.
The task gets no easier for the 1-3 Magpies in Round Five with a trip to Perth to take on the Eagles on deck, while the Giants will face cross-town rivals Sydney at the SCG.