Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron says his club has “total responsibility” to Toby Greene, with the banned player facing a swathe of serious charges after an alleged drunken rampage for which he will face court in September.
Giants players were lectured recently by a senior policeman about the perils they may face in public during a scheduled four-day break after the bye this weekend. But Greene became embroiled in an incident on Monday night in Melbourne which landed the 20-year-old with charges of intentionally causing serious injury, recklessly causing injury, affray, assault in company, assault by kicking, assault with a weapon, unlawful assault, making threats to inflict serious injury, being drunk in a public place and criminal damage.
Greene was given a five-week suspension by the Giants’ leadership group and board for drinking while injured and not reporting the incident quickly to officials. He apologised to his teammates on Friday morning.
Coach Cameron stressed the club would not abandon the young midfielder.
“Our job is not just to make our players really good on the field, but really good off the field too,” he said.
“We have a total responsibility to Toby. He’s a terrific young kid.
“To confront his fellow players and the coaches this morning, it is a tough thing to stand up and apologise. There was genuine remorse. Knowing the kid, he’ll push through these five weeks and come out bigger and better.”
Co-captain Callan Ward said: “Toby’s put his hand up. He knows he stuffed up. We’ve got some strong protocols and strong rules here.
“He drank when he shouldn’t have, when he was injured. He didn’t contact the club after he was in trouble. He’s put his hand up, he’s apologised to the group and he’s extremely upset.
“We’re going to help him move on. He’s going to come back and train for five weeks and train really hard and earn his spot back.”
The Giants earlier put out a statement in which chief executive Dave Matthews said the club would not prejudge the charges Greene faced.
“However Toby has failed to meet the standards expected of the playing group,” Matthews said.
“We are developing what we believe to be a strong culture at the Giants and we will not tolerate any actions by individuals which may jeopardise it.
“Toby will receive counselling to ensure he learns from this experience and the standards expected of all players. We have the youngest playing list in the AFL and we need to ensure we provide them appropriate support and education.”
The Giants are coming off an 111-point thrashing by West Coast but welcome back some real talent for their match with Richmond at Spotless Stadium on May 24, including Jeremy Cameron, Shane Mumford, Adam Treloar and Curtly Hampton.
“We need to get back against Richmond,” Cameron said. “We need to put the last week behind us.”