Toby Greene under fire over sling tackle as GWS Giants defeat Gold Coast Suns, video

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Despite a brave effort, the Gold Coast Suns fell 18.9 (117) – 13.10 (88) to the GWS Giants in the first of three Sunday contests to cap Gather Round.

The Suns were gallant after they dumped Connor Budarick, Brandon Ellis, Levi Casboult, Alex Sexton, Ben Long, Ned Moyle and Rory Atkins in a huge selection statement by Damien Hardwick on Thursday night.

Adam Kingsley’s Giants were unchanged from their Round 2 win over West Coast.

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Like the Suns, the Giants had the bye last round, with their win moving them to the top of the AFL table.

However, GWS superstar Toby Greene could be in strife with the Match Review Officer after slinging Gold Coast’s Mac Andrew in a tackle in the third quarter.

THE 3-2-1 …

3. ‘THAT’S NOT GREAT’: STAR SET TO COME UNDER MRO ‘SCRUTINY’ AFTER SLING

While the Giants moved to 4-0 to register their best start in their history, it could very well come at a cost for inspirational captain Greene.

“It’s on behind play,” Dal Santo said as Andrew remonstrated with the GWS champion.

“Mac Andrew got dumped from the Toby Greene tackle and Mac’s gone back at him and thrown Toby to the ground and it’s been reversed.

“It did look a little bit dangerous … That’s not great and (Andrew) didn’t like it … I think they’ll look at that one.”

Dixon provided a report at three-quarter-time from Mount Barker.

“We know where the Match Review (Officer) sits on this subject in terms of when the player’s arms are pinned and what impact that will have,” he told Fox Footy.

“(Andrew) wasn’t concussed, or (didn’t suffer a) head injury so to speak, but it’s the action that we’re trying to eliminate from the game. So, he’s sure to come under some scrutiny for this, Toby Greene, after the match.”

Dal Santo said Michael Christian “will look at that one” on Monday.

“It fits the category of a player that’s in a helpless or defenceless position,” he said.

“Now, whether there’s enough force, whether he hits his head, we’ll have to have a closer look. I’m as big a fan if Toby as anybody but that didn’t look great.”

The Giants are scheduled to host St Kilda next Saturday afternoon, with a Greene verdict to come on Monday.

2. GWS’ ‘INCREDIBLE’ FORWARD-HALF SUPERPOWER OVERWHELMS SUNS

It didn’t come without a considerable scare from a valiant Gold Coast outfit, but the Giants’ forward-half and transition game ultimately proved too powerful for Damien Hardwick’s men.

They were led by superstar skipper Toby Greene (five goals) and reborn key forward Jesse Hogan (four).

“The beauty about Jesse Hogan is he’s going to get plenty of opportunities,” Fox Footy’s Ben Dixon told the broadcast.

“We talked about the (GWS) tsunami coming into this game — he’s getting the access right through the corridor. It’s incredible the access as a key forward that he gets.

“I haven’t seen him in this good a touch in a number of years.”

It didn’t come easy for GWS all afternoon, though, with its trademark “tsunami” stifled somewhat in the second and third quarters.

“I thought they were going to get some run and gun off half-back, that hasn’t happened. Exit from stoppage they’ve been shut down, so, tactically, Gold Coast is winning right now,” Dixon told Fox Footy.

However, despite Gold Coast’s best efforts at staging “one of the big upset victories of this season”, the Giants were too strong.

Stephen Coniglio (28 disposals, 10 inside-50s and two goals) and Toby Greene (17 disposals, six inside-50s and five goals) were GWS’ best, joined by Lachie Whitfield (team-high 29 disposals) — who battled a vision issue early on — and Tom Green (23 disposals at 87 per cent efficiency, eight tackles and six inside-50s).

“They’re certainly right up there for premiership contention,” Fox Footy’s Jack Riewoldt said post-game.

“They’re playing great footy, and they bank a win. A challenge from the Gold Coast Suns but another win for a professional outfit.”

1. ‘SUPERB’ YOUNG SUNS TURN HEADS DESPITE LOSS

While it came in another losing effort, Gold Coast’s young talent was on full display at Adelaide Hills on Sunday.

Jed Walter, Sam Clohesy and Ethan Read (the latter two debuted on Sunday) all snagged their first AFL goals against GWS.

After a slow start against the red-hot Giants, the young Suns’ resurgence would’ve taken most onlookers by surprise.

“I’ve really loved their fight today,” Dal Santo said.

“You go back to the first quarter, they concede three easy goals to start the game, they work their way in and find a way to be competitive. (They were) a little bit slow to start the second quarter (but) they’ve put themselves in a really good position.”

Dal Santo heaped praise on rampaging midfielder Matt Rowell, who continued his blistering beginning to the 2024 campaign.

“Matt Rowell is back to the form he was in in his first three or four AFL games of his career,” he stated. “He’s doing it in all facets. He has this unique ability, like only a handful of players in the AFL (have), to be tackled and (not) panic.

“He gives it off when he is ready, he shrugs those hips, he bullocks his way through, and he’s been really impressive once again.”

Rowell finished with 26 disposals (19 contested) at 89 per cent efficiency, eight clearances and a goal.

Another young Sun whose performance turned heads was emerging interceptor Mac Andrew.

“He was superb, Mac Andrew,” Dal Santo said. “He was involved in that incident (with Toby Greene) but it didn’t slow him down.

“12 disposals (in the third) quarter, he’s had 16 intercept possessions for the game, six of those marks … (I’ve) been very impressed with his game as a whole.”

Gerard Healy concurred, praising the ‘electricity’ of Andrew’s play both aerially and at ground level.

“He’s been absolutely fantastic, just electric,” Healy told Fox Footy.

“He’s only played a few games of footy, so everybody can just sit back and watch his career unfold. He’s got tricks in the air; he’s got tricks on the ground.”

The 20-year-old finished with 24 disposals and 10 marks.

Originally published as GWS Giants skipper Toby Green under fire after dangerous sling tackle