After watching his side qualify for this Saturday’s AFL Grand Final without him, GWS superstar Toby Greene is determined to put a controversial past few weeks behind him and give Giants fans something to cheer for.
After missing last weekend’s thrilling Preliminary Final win over Collingwood due to suspension, the 25-year-old has promised to not curb his aggression when he enters the game’s biggest stage on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking at a packed media conference on Monday at Giants headquarters, the feisty half-forward flank said it was tough watching his side qualify for Saturday’s decider against Richmond from the sidelines.
“It’s definitely a lot more nerve-racking watching than playing… it was edge of your seat sort of stuff [but] it was an amazing feeling when the siren went,” Greene said.
With several trips to the AFL Tribunal already this Finals Series, Greene has well and truly been the centre of attention in recent weeks. While the 2016 Kevin Sheedy Medallist would prefer to be out of the spotlight, he has no plans to change his aggressive playing style.
“I’ll be playing how I usually play,” he confirmed.
“Yes, there’s been a few stories the last couple of weeks but it’s all played out well and we’re in the Grand Final, so I’m happy.
“[The attention] is just part of playing AFL footy. I always compare it to EPL players… the scrutiny they face is 10 times this, so I always refer back to that.”
An inaugural Giant, Greene along with the entire GWS club have come an awfully long way since blowout scorelines and random wins in their first few AFL seasons.
While some down south are still to be sold on GWS, Greene is proud of their journey and the force they’ve become.
“We’ve come a long way since me and Jez (Jeremy Cameron) lived next door to each other at Breakfast Point,” he said.
“It’s been an amazing journey and to play in a Grand Final with some of the boys you’ve grown up and moved out of home with, is an amazing experience.
“While we’ve played in the Finals the last four years, making a Grand Final brings you to prominence but we’ve always had the belief and it’s really starting to show now.”
GWS will go into this weekend’s season finale against the Tigers as underdogs but despite their lack of favouritism with the bookies, they are hoping to pick up plenty of extra support from fans around the league.
“We’ve had a lot of support in the last couple of days, even from people that are not Richmond or Giants supporters,” Greene said.
“I’ve never played in a Grand Final, so I’m looking forward to running out with 21 of my best mates. It’s an amazing opportunity and something I’ve wanted to do since I could remember.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.