Greater Western Sydney leaves the field after beating Adelaide in round one, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

TOBY Greene was forced to sit and watch the first five games of last season due to an act of his own doing, but it was his first act as Greater Western Sydney's standalone captain that ensured the Adam Kingsley era started with a win on Sunday.

On a day of injury carnage at Giants Stadium and in brutal conditions that peaked at 36 degrees, the dual All-Australian slotted 4.4 from 19 disposals to lead GWS past Adelaide by 16 points.

GIANTS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats

It came after Adelaide dominated the opening half and should have led by far more than 28 points at half-time, before GWS kicked 11 goals to four in the second half to win 15.16 (106) to 12.18 (90).

With Lachie Whitfield (concussion), Harry Perryman (hamstring) and Josh Kelly (concussion) watching on from the bench in the last quarter, the Giants produced a memorable opening-round win, recovering from 31 points down in the second quarter.


The first major decision of Kingsley's tenure was to remove the co-captaincy model that has been almost a permanent part of the Giants' existence, instilling Greene as solo captain and Stephen Coniglio and Kelly as vice-captains. 

Greene led the way, but the superstar wasn't alone.

NINE THINGS WE LEARNED Secret weapon unveiled as Dees fire warning shot

Coniglio was as influential as anyone on the ground, gathering 32 disposals, 810 metres gained and eight clearances in a brilliant performance that could see him establish himself as one of the best midfielders in the game once again.

Before Kelly departed the game following a head clash in the fourth quarter, the former skipper moved as well as he has in a long time, collecting 26 disposals and seven clearances.


Tom Green was the other key part from the start, amassing a career-high 37 disposals and eight clearances to start 2023 on song, weeks after inking a four-year contract extension.

It might have been one of the finest home and away wins in Greater Western Sydney's short history, but it only came after an awful first 30 minutes and challenging opening half that might have forced some Giants fans to retreat early for air conditioning or a beach. 

BRAVE GIANTS Undermanned GWS shows 'courageous fight'

Adelaide will return to South Australia disappointed following such a strong start, on the back of a summer of optimism at West Lakes. But positives will emerge from the review. 

Izak Rankine cost Adelaide pick No.5 in a deal that involved a later pick swap, but the 2018 No.3 pick nearly produced a captivating first showing for the Crows. 

The former Gold Coast small forward was involved within 15 seconds when his first shot at goal was disallowed on review and remained involved across four quarters, finishing with 2.5 from 18 disposals and 11 score involvements on a day where he could have been the star of the show if he took his chances. 


Rankine wasn't the only former top-10 pick to dazzle for Matthew Nicks' side. Josh Rachele was the Crows' best player in a maximum disposal to impact performance by the second-year Victorian. 

The 2021 No.6 pick finished with three goals from 18 disposals and nine score involvements in a showing full of highlights as his midfield minutes soared in the sunshine.

BARRETT Pies depth leaves Ginnivan in limbo as ban nears end

Adelaide hosts Richmond at Adelaide Oval next Saturday, while Greater Western Sydney will fly west to face West Coast in the final game of round two. 

The Giants won't have Whitfield or Kelly due to concussion protocols, plus Perryman due to a hamstring strain. Could they pull the trigger on No.1 pick Aaron Cadman after he kicked six goals in the VFL on Sunday morning?

MRO concern for Crow
Shane McAdam is set for scrutiny following a crude hit on young Giants wingman Jacob Wehr. The heavy blow in the third quarter didn't end Wehr's day but could stall McAdam's season.


Two returning Giants
Jack Buckley was a late inclusion for Leek Aleer, returning to league football 623 days after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in round 16, 2021. The key defender didn't look out of place and appears part of Adam Kingsley's plans down back, where the Giants have options. Brent Daniels also returned 590 days after his most recent AFL appearance, following repeated hamstring issues in 2022 that forced him to head to the University of Wisconsin searching for answers. The lively small forward made an impact with two goals.  

Finn fires in heat
After his debut season was limited to just five appearances due to a foot injury that flared and lingered, Finn Callaghan showed he has put that issue behind him with a brilliant showing to start his season. The 2021 pick No.3 collected 25 disposals and amassed 421 metres gained, showing composure and class in stifling heat. No wonder the Giants were thrilled he put pen to paper on a new deal earlier this month.  


GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     2.2     4.8     10.11      15.16 (106)
ADELAIDE                                  4.9     8.12    10.16       12.18 (90)

Greater Western Sydney:
Greene 4, Hogan 3, Daniels 2, Ward, H.Himmelberg, Haynes, Green, Flynn, Coniglio
Rachele 3, Rankine 2, Fogarty 2, Walker, Pedlar, McAdam, Keays, E.Himmelberg

Greater Western Sydney:
Greene, Coniglio, Green, Ward, Kelly, Callaghan, Hogan
Rachele, Dawson, Rankine, Keays

Greater Western Sydney:
Perryman (hamstring), Whitfield (concussion), Kelly (concussion)
Murray (leg) 

Greater Western Sydney: Leek Aleer replaced in selected side by Jack Buckley

Greater Western Sydney: Adam Kennedy (replaced Harry Perryman in first quarter)
Tyler Brown (replaced Nick Murray in third quarter)

Crowd: 8169 at Giants Stadium