HARRY Himmelberg has one of the best seats in the house watching Toby Greene enjoy a purple patch of form, but he expects Greater Western Sydney’s forward line reshuffle will mean it doesn’t have to rely on its stand-in skipper in the Sydney Derby on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Himmelberg stated in the pre-season that he needed to "step up and take control" of the Giants forward line, but he is now appreciating the variety and different avenues to goal that a spread of options is bringing.
While the Giants averaged less than 10 goals a game in their first three matches since the club’s all-time leading goalkicker in Jeremy Cameron moved to Geelong, they then kicked 14 goals from 48 inside-50 entries in the 30-point win over Collingwood.
"It's a bit of a reshuffle without 'Jez' [Cameron]," Himmelberg said.
"In the pre-season we had some really good success with playing around with those structures and finding a new way to kick goals.
"Last week [against Collingwood] was a pretty good example, we had a good share of goal scorers."
AFL FIXTURE Check it out here
Greene has been the Giants’ standout player and main forward threat for much of this year, and kicked five goals in each of the past two matches.
"Toby has had a great start to the season. [The forward line] is a very good box seat to watch him," Himmelberg said.
"He tells me about it all through the week, but he's quite modest out on the field."
The inclusion of tall forwards Jeremy Finlayson and Jake Riccardi added more structure and firepower to the Giants' forward line for the match against the Magpies. Finlayson was one of the Giants' best, kicking four goals.
Competition for tall forward spots is set to get tougher too, as prized recruit Jesse Hogan gets closer to a first game for the Giants and return to the AFL, as he recovers from a pre-season quad injury.
"Getting [Finlayson and Riccardi] back in was a big boost for the team," Himmelberg said.
"Different avenues and different focal points took a little bit of the load off as far as targets going inside 50.
"When 'Hoges' is ready to go, I'm sure it'll be looked at with how we can structure it. But his main job is just to get back out on the park and play some consistent footy."
MEDICAL ROOM The full AFL injury list
Sydney speedster Harry Cunningham said he is unlikely to get first crack at Greene, adding that "it's going to take a team effort, not really one person" to quell the gun forward.
"We look at it as a backline unit, as well as a team defence as well," Cunningham said.
"He's a great player and we're going to have to do a lot to nullify him."
While there has been discussion this week about the Sydney Derby being played in a friendly atmosphere, Cunningham expects a fiery clash similar to what he saw in his debut match.
That round one game in 2012 was the first clash between the Swans and the Giants, and saw James McDonald clash with Luke Parker early in the match.
"I came on as a sub, unfortunately not until late in the game," Cunningham said.
"I do remember 'Parksy' broke his jaw in the first quarter and still wouldn't come off with it and give me a game.
"That just shows how tough Luke is, I think he played three quarters with a broken jaw."
THE SUSPENSION LADDER Whose bad boys keep getting banned
Giants ruckman Shane Mumford also played in that match but was still with the Swans at the time.
Mumford could line up in the Derby again, after moving well in a short session at the SCG on Friday to leave coach Leon Cameron with a difficult choice to make between selecting the veteran ruckman or 23-year-old Matt Flynn.
Himmelberg said he’d noticed an extra bounce in Mumford’s step this week as the 34-year-old looks to back-up after his strong performance against Collingwood and Brodie Grundy.
"[Mumford] is always loud, if he's not in the team or he is in the team. You certainly don't miss him if he's at training,” he said.
"We've got two really good ruck options, which is something we haven't had in the past and is really exciting."