GWS head coach Leon Cameron reveals Toby Greene apologised to playing group during the week

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Eliza ReillyThe West Australian
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VideoWA's Bobby Hil produced a fine goal in his first final in his home state.

Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron has vowed not to give up on vice-captain Toby Greene after the enigmatic forward spent upwards of 10 minutes apologising to the playing group for his suspension during the week.

The football world will never know what impact an electric Greene could have had on GWS’s 35-point semifinal loss to Geelong on Friday night at Optus Stadium after making contact with umpire Matt Stevic against Sydney last week.

But Cameron acknowledged the Giants would spend the pre-season attempting to address Greene’s discipline issues after his three-match ban cost him the rest of season 2021.

“When the dust is settled over the next few months, we need to make sure he’s out there more times than not because he’s not only great for our footy club but he’s great for the game,” Cameron said.

“We’ve got some challenges and we’re not going to shy away from that and we’ll work through that as a football club.

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“He was in front of the group and remorseful throughout the week. It was an emotional 10 or 15mins in front of our entire group during the week. We’re not a club that’s going to shy away from things.

“We got it wrong last weekend and he puts his hand up but equally, you don’t give on these players.

“They’re like your children. Sometimes your kids do things wrong in life and you need to learn from them and move on.

“I’m really confident we can work through some of those challenges over the pre-season.”

Greater Western Sydney have embraced and overcome every challenge thrown at them so far in season 2021.

Giants head coach Leon Cameron won’t give up on Toby Greene.
Camera IconGiants head coach Leon Cameron won’t give up on Toby Greene. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images/AFL Media

But trying to defeat Geelong without three of their top four goalkickers for the season on the other side of the country after 73 days on the road was admittedly a bridge too far for the Giants.

Already without vice-captain Greene (45 goals), the Giants lost recruit Jesse Hogan (20) before the first bounce due to calf soreness.

Even without forward firepower and a handy injury-riddled support class, GWS hung in and kicked three straight goals in the last quarter to draw within 26-points.

Cameron said the club would continue to investigate the club’s injury woes, starting the game with 16 players on their injury list, but admitted the chance to blood some youth was a welcome gain from season 2021.

“You can’t sit back and say if we had player A, B, or C, we’ve been dealing with injuries all year and we dealt with it again tonight,” Cameron said of Hogan’s late withdrawal.

“You clearly want a healthy list out there as much as you can. There’s some really nasty injuries there you don’t want to wish upon anyone.

“Sometimes I sit down and think are we going too hard? Do we have to pull out at times? The one thing I love about our footy club is we crash and bash and put our bodies on the line.

“We need to keep looking at ways to make sure we get a number of players out on the park more than what we’ve had this year but it comes down to a number of things.”

Cameron also conceded veteran ruckman Shane Mumford was more “unlikely than likely” to play on after shouldering a higher than expected workload this season.

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