Toby Greene all Australian captain
All Australian captain Toby Greene says his Giants side are the best he's ever played in. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS
  • Australian rules football

Captain Greene lauds 2023 Giants as his best-ever team

Roger Vaughan August 31, 2023

Even though he’s played in an AFL grand final and a preliminary final, there is something special about this GWS team for captain Toby Greene.

The first Giants player to be made All Australian captain is bullish about their prospects in next month’s finals series, starting on Saturday week when they play St Kilda in an MCG elimination final.

Greene, who has played 212 games since they joined the AFL in 2012, also admits he did not think they would go quite so well this season under new coach Adam Kingsley.

“I am surprised – I didn’t think we could get to the level we’re at now,” he told AAP after Wednesday night’s All Australian announcement.

“I’m not saying we’re the best team in the comp, but I feel like we can beat anyone in the comp. We want to do as much damage as we can.

“I feel like I’m in the best team I’ve played in my whole career.

“We may not get that far, but that’s what it feels like.”

Greene says much of the credit goes to Kingsley, who has rejuvenated the Giants and led them back to the top eight after a two-year absence.

“A lot of it comes down to Kingers, what he’s tried to bring in, the way he wants us to play,” Greene said.

“He has guys playing career-best footy, and especially the guys from 20-24, that’s where all our growth has come.

“That’s what has made us a really dangerous team.”

Greene said he was shocked to be named All Australian captain..

He became sole Giants captain this year and Greene has been one of the league’s most dangerous forwards, routinely breaking games open with his brilliance.

While this is Greene’s third All Australian selection, he says until recently the notion of him captaining the honorary lineup would have been fanciful.

But he has curbed his onfield indiscretions and taken his game to a new level.

Asked on stage at Wednesday’s AFL awards night what he might tell his young tearaway self who started at the Giants back in 2012, Greene said “straighten up a bit”.

“If you’d asked me two years ago, it’s not in the realms of possibility,” he said of being named All Australian captain.

“I’m just pumped for my family, who have been through a lot when I’ve gotten in trouble.

“My girlfriend has been with me all the way. I’m really excited for them as well.”

But above all else, Greene is rapt to be back in September action.

“I hate coming to these things when you’re not playing finals. It’s the worst feeling in the world,” he said.

“But knowing we have the Saints next weekend, hopefully 60-70,000, I can’t wait.”