GWS Giants player Toby Greene. Picture: Phil Hillyard
GWS Giants player Toby Greene. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Giants promote bad boy Greene

CONTROVERSIAL GWS Giants star Toby Greene has emerged from a Cooper Cronk-led leadership search to join captain Stephen Coniglio in driving the club's quest for glory in 2020.

A changing of the guard has taken place with Greene today joined by Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron and the recently re-signed Lachie Whitfield in a new-look, six-strong leadership group.

They join midfielders Josh Kelly and Matt De Boer, who continue their roles in an expanded group.

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Greene is a hugely popular figure inside the Giants family, despite firmly being cast as a villain by rivals fans who take great delight in booing his every move.

The end to his 2019 campaign was incident-filled as he missed the Giants' preliminary final win over Collingwood through suspension. He returned for the Grand Final but ended the day in tears as the Giants were thrashed by Richmond at the MCG.

There will be no designated vice-captain for the Giants this year with each of the five players to share the responsibilities under Coniglio.

And although they will continue to provide advice and support, former co-captains Phil Davis and Callan Ward will not be part of the official leadership group in 2020.

Former NRL premiership star Cooper Cronk passes on leadership tips to GWS coach Leon Cameron. Picture: Toby Zerna
Former NRL premiership star Cooper Cronk passes on leadership tips to GWS coach Leon Cameron. Picture: Toby Zerna

"The whole playing group has been through a thorough process alongside our leadership consultant Cooper Cronk to settle on this group and we're delighted to have Jeremy, Lachie and Toby join the leadership group for 2020," Giants general manager of football Jason McCartney said.

"All three players have been instrumental to the growth of the Giants in recent years and a spot in the official leadership group is well deserved.

"We're very fortunate at the Giants to have some outstanding leaders and I'm really confident in the mix of players that will be supporting Stephen as on-field leaders.

"To have this group supported by Callan Ward and Phil Davis, who've led the club brilliantly since inception, has us in a really strong position for the upcoming season."

When Coniglio was unveiled as the new captain last month, Davis said: I wish Stephen all the best. He's a terrific person and he's going to do some great things for us."

And while the group for 2020 is now locked in place, McCartney recently revealed the leadership process was about looking long-term.

"It's also then identifying another couple of boys that might just sit outside that (2020 leadership group) and keep developing those guys," McCartney said.

"I know from my brief discussion with Cooper that his mantra is all about how many players you can bring along, the critical mass I suppose."

The Giants open their 2020 campaign with a home game against Geelong on March 21 in the first ever AFL-AFLW double-header.