Giants 'deserve' to be in finals: captain Greene

Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Even Greater Western Sydney captain Toby Greene is surprised his side has made it this deep into September.

Knocking out St Kilda and Port Adelaide in two defiant wins on the road, the Giants have booked themselves their first AFL preliminary final in four years, against Collingwood.

But for a team that started the season 3-7 under first-year coach Adam Kingsley, which included a 65-point thumping from the Magpies in round nine, the idea of reaching finals - let alone being one of the last four remaining teams - seemed far-fetched.

"I probably didn't expect to be here, I'll be honest," Greene said on Wednesday.

"Footy is funny, it can change a lot in a few months and in a few weeks, so I'm taking the opportunity with both hands.

"Now that we're here and what we're doing, we deserve to be here."

Known for his run-ins with the AFL tribunal, Greene has experienced his own rollicking footy journey this year.

In his first decade at the Giants from 2012, the 29-year-old racked up 13 weeks of suspensions and almost $30,000 worth of fines from 22 charges.

He was known for his "studs-up" marking style, where he'd raise his boot to fend off opposition players.

Such was his notoriety that the AFL introduced a rule change in 2019 to ban players from doing so.

Notable Greene skirmishes on the park include spitting at Anthony Miles in 2015, raking his hand over the face of Marcus Bontempelli and Lachie Neale in 2019 and bumping umpire Matt Stevic in 2021.

Greene missed the 2019 preliminary final against Collingwood with a one-match ban, and for his bump against Stevic he served a six-match suspension - upped from three matches on appeal - that lingered into the 2022 season.

Now two years on from his last dispute with the tribunal, the foundation Giants player has been pivotal on the road to finals.

Often providing the spark for his teammates to grab the come-from-behind win, his on-field leadership earned him the coveted All-Australian captain spot.

But Greene himself isn't too sure about how much he's changed since becoming sole skipper in 2023.

"The group really backs me in and I feel the love from them so as the year got on, I probably felt a bit more confident," he said.

"It's something I've tried to work on every week, every day. I don't know if it's changed.

"I haven't reflected on it too much on it. I'm probably not the best person to ask."