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Greene keen to avoid second-year blues

James Dampney  January 10, 2013 10:55 AM

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Toby Greene is set to build on his fantastic first AFL season

It (2012) was just a massive learning experience. I took every game as a new game and just kept learning

FAR FROM being content with a record-breaking rookie year, Greater Western Sydney teenager Toby Greene is making huge strides in pre-season training as he prepares for his second AFL campaign.

Greene was a revelation in 2012, compiling 539 disposals across his 20 games, more than any other 18-year-old in AFL history.

His average of 28.4 touches per contest ranked a lofty eighth overall in the competition, putting him ahead of the likes of 2012 All Australians Josh Kennedy, Brett Deledio and Patrick Dangerfield.

So is he resting on his laurels after a stunning debut season? No chance.

Pick 11 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft, Greene is already showing improvement, winning the club's opening 3km time trial, conquering some sand dune runs – previously a pet hate – and adding some strength to his 179cm frame.

"I want to get stronger and fitter and faster," Greene told AFL.com.au.

"Everything we're doing at the moment is helping with that, with a lot of weights and long distance running.

"It's been a hard pre-season, but really effective, and it's been good to see some results.

"I did a little bit before we came back and once we came back I've been able to do all the running with the group.

"We're doing a lot more running than last pre-season."

Despite only turning 19 at the end of the season, Greene's rookie performance resulted in him being showered with accolades at the Giants' inaugural awards night.

He took out the Rising Star Award and the Member's Choice Award and finished an impressive second behind Callan Ward for the Kevin Sheedy Medal for the best and fairest player.

Entering the season with only a modest goal, Greene surprised many with his spectacular debut, with only a suspension costing him likely NAB AFL Rising Star honours.

"I just wanted to play 10 games at the start of the year," he said. "I was ecstatic to play more than that and it just went from there.

"I didn't really know what to expect coming into it.

"I was lucky I didn't get any injuries and hopefully I can stay that way.

"It was just a massive learning experience. I took every game as a new game and just kept learning.

"Hopefully I can put some of that into being more consistent this year."

Greene made sure he had some rest after a gruelling first year, heading to Bali and Thailand with teammates before spending Christmas at home in Aireys Inlet, a coastal town southwest of Melbourne.

But he and the rest of the young playing group has returned in impressive shape, with Greene saying sprint times have improved across the board.

Armed with the knowledge taken from one season at the top level, plus the additions of Stephen Gilham, Bret Thornton and a new draft class, Greene is optimistic GWS can improve on its two victories from year one.

"It feels a bit weird with the draftees, not being the youngest here," he said.

"It's a good thing, we know what to expect now at AFL level.

"Hopefully we can get a couple more wins this year and everyone continues to improve.

"We haven't really talked about targets, but just the talk among the boys is we'd like to get a couple more (wins).

"I think that's definitely possible the way we're going at the moment, but we'll see how we go in the NAB Cup and take it from there."

James Dampney is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_JD