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Toby Greene to return for GWS Giants against St Kilda, but AFL coach Leon Cameron warning


Toby Greene’s return looks set to provide the Giants with a huge boost but their coach insists there are other things to worry about as well.

GWS coach Leon Cameron has warned the Giants can’t expect the return of spiritual leader Toby Greene to provide a quick fix for the slump that is threatening to derail their season.

The Giants have won just one of six games since Greene was suspended for making contact with umpire Matt Stevic in last year’s elimination final win over the Sydney Swans.

GWS now sits in 14th spot on the AFL ladder and risks falling even further behind the pack if it loses to St Kilda in Canberra on Friday night.

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Greene looms as a big inclusion for the struggling Giants but Cameron said his side mustn’t let his return distract from the task at hand — working to prevent last week’s third-quarter onslaught from happening again.

“I’m mindful that it can’t be ‘The Toby Show’, as much as we love him,” said Cameron.

“You get an energy lift among the group because he’s there but if we become too focused then other things are not going to work out for us.”

Cameron said while Greene couldn’t do all the heavy lifting for the Giants, he admitted he hoped his co-captain could emulate another of the league’s stars who recently returned from suspension.

“I look at (Adelaide key forward) Taylor Walker and his first two weeks have been absolutely first class. So if we got that sort of return, we’d be over the moon,” said Cameron.

“(Greene) is fit and hard and ready to go.”

But Cameron said fans should be prepared that Greene could take “a week or two” to re-acclimate to the pace of the AFL.

“It might take a week or two in terms of match fitness, that’s just natural because he hasn’t been able to play,” said Cameron.

“We just want him to come in and play his role with energy, compete ahead of footy.”

Since Greene was suspended for his ump bump, the AFL has begun coming down hard on players showing dissent towards match officials.

In round five, umpire dissent led to a free kick or 50 metre penalty on six occasions and on Tuesday, the AFL released a statement doubling down on its tough new stance.

With the passionate Greene’s return imminent, Cameron said the Giants continued to have high expectations of their players when it came to their interactions with umpires.

He admitted, though, that staying emotionally neutral on the field was “extremely hard”.

“In the emotion of the game, players are going to react and that’s the challenge for all 18 clubs,” he said.

“We must play our part as players and coaches and understand that if there’s a free kick or something that goes against you, we need to move on.

“The quicker we do that and understand that, the less these things will be paid.”

Originally published as ‘It can’t be The Toby Show’: Giants can’t become distracted by Greene’s return



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