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Toby Greene is just 18, going on 19. Just old enough to vote, just old enough to die for his country in a war, and just old enough to play as an elite sportsman in one of the toughest sporting competitions in the world, the Australian Football League, generally known as the AFL. He is a young man in a team of young men in the youngest team in the AFL, the GWS Giants, playing their first season as the latest expansion team for the AFL. A team expanding into the heartland of Sydney, previously the sole domain of the replanted South Melbourne side now known as the Sydney Swans.
Giants by name but not by age for at the start of this initial season the average age of the playing group was under 21. A few, just a few, established players from other clubs have been drafted to the cause but it is these raw young men such as Toby that have to carry the load, week in and week out, of punishing 100 point defeats at the hands of teams full of hard, seasoned men with years of match and fitness conditioning. They did, however, have an inspiring win against the Gold Coast Suns, another expansion team with just one more season to their name. It is a credit to the club and to their very experienced coaches at the helm, Kevin Sheedy, and Mark Williams that these young men are showing no signs of mental defeat and have already established a reputation in just six months as a tough, uncompromising team that, as a line in their team song suggests, never surrenders. Their losses are coming from a lack of skills, fitness, and experience that only time and match practice can establish as second nature. But out of these losses the young individuals shine like diamonds and Toby Greene recently became the fifth player from the GWS Giants to be nominated for the 2012 NAB Rising Star Award. Five players from the one club being nominated for this award is I think unprecedented.
These are very talented young men who still have a lot to learn about the skills and instincts required to win but they already have that most important element, a strength of spirit, and that is a credit to their individual personalities and not something that can be easily taught. The club has chosen well.
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P.S. This was recorded using a Zoom H1 portable recorder, see pic, so the quality of the recording is a little variable depending on how it was being held 😉