Ahead of the 26th Sydney Derby, Greater Western Sydney captain, Toby Greene’s latest feats have him the talk of the town and beyond.
Greene’s match-winning capabilities were on full display last Saturday afternoon, booting five second-half goals to lift his team over the line against arch-rivals, the Western Bulldogs.
And with Lance Franklin’s midweek retirement, it begs the question if Greene is now the new face of football in the state. According to his vice-captain, Stephen Coniglio, there is no question.
“I think he already is,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“I think in one way, you know one thing about Toby, is we’ve all spoken about his maturity over the last couple of years and how that’s come on.
“He’s finally starting to get some of the recognition and he had to work on some things, but he’s finally starting to get some of that recognition externally that he probably deserves.”
The Sydney Swans know all too well what Toby Greene is capable of, evident by his last-quarter surge in the first Derby of the season that got GWS securing the bragging rights by one point.
Swans co-captain, Luke Parker concedes that it will be a tough task to match up with him and the rest of the Giants.
“For us, we know Toby’s on fire at the moment,” he said.
“We’re not sure at the moment who goes to him, we have a few guys who can play that lockdown role.
“I know as a defensive unit they’re keen on playing, helping each other out and playing to that system, and we’ll see [how it goes] on the weekend.
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“Robbie Fox is playing some good football and Harry Cunningham, so I guarantee [they’ll] probably be one of the two that will be on him at times.
“Their whole squad’s on fire and they’re playing some really good footy, and it’s going to take our best to get over the top of them on Saturday.”
With the encounter potentially the biggest Sydney Derby in recent memory, both Parker and Coniglio are hoping for a big turnout on Saturday night.
“It hasn’t been the case for a couple of years [20k+ crowd],” Coniglio said.
“But I do remember a couple of years ago when we were both firing and this stadium gets really loud with a mixture of hopefully lots of orange, and a little bit of red and white.
“We want as many people at the game as possible, it’s going to be an amazing spectacle and we hope everyone can get down there.”
“Hopefully it’s a big turnout, I think both teams are fighting for those finals spots and I think we’ve got a big Swans fanbase here, so they’ll be guaranteed to come out west to the game,” Parker said.
“It’s great when the stadium’s fully packed and the atmosphere’s rocking, it’s a great place to play.”
Greater Western Sydney and Sydney will be playing off for the Lifeline Cup when they do battle on Saturday.