Toby Greene (centre) has gone from bad boy to skipper at GWS
Toby Greene (centre) has gone from bad boy to skipper at GWS

Greene rises from bad boy to leader

Toby Greene has opened up about his journey from drunken assault charges to inspirational GWS captain.

The Giants had every member of their five-man leadership group - Callan Ward, Phil Davis, Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio and Matt de Boer - sidelined for Saturday's crunch match against Collingwood.

Giants coach Leon Cameron could have endorsed foundation star Jeremy Cameron as skipper, or 299-game veteran Heath Shaw, but wanted Greene.

And although it was an 11th-hour call-up, Greene's ascension has not been overnight.

Arrested in Melbourne following a drunken incident in Melbourne in 2014, Greene has been profiled as somewhat of a bad boy on and off the field.

In New York two off-seasons ago, he injured himself in a hotel room, and fly-kicks and brain explosions over the years on the field have attracted criticism.

But behind the scenes, Cameron has driven Greene, a prodigious talent, to adopt the mindset of being a leader.

And Greene's outstanding captain's knock against Collingwood - in a team triumph that ranks among the gutsiest in the club's history - is surely a defining moment in his career.

"Yeah, it probably says a little bit," said Greene, who hasn't been the captain of a team since his first year of high school.

"I wouldn't have been given the opportunity a few years ago.

"Leon asked and I jumped at the opportunity. I thought it would be a great chance to stand up. It's something I've been working on behind the scenes and I'll continue to work on it.

"Leon has been on my case for a while about trying to improve in that area and he's been doing a fair bit this year. It doesn't come naturally to me but I'll continue to work on it."

Greene said his mother, Kate, was happier than he was about the captaincy, and she remains his other pillar of influence.


Toby Greene celebrates a goal against the Magpies. Picture: AAP
Toby Greene celebrates a goal against the Magpies. Picture: AAP

Cameron knew he had made the right call the moment he approached Greene to step up to the captaincy after Davis's last-moment injury drama.

"Our leadership group has really urged him to be more than just a very good player," Cameron said. "

It's fine pushing them, but you have to take it as well and Toby does take that.

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

"Our whole leadership group should be proud of what Toby produced (on Saturday)."

The captaincy did not burden Greene at all and his work playing exclusively in the midfield in the first quarter was decisive.