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Eagles coach "not happy" with All Australian road trip

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West Coast coach Adam Simpson was none too pleased with two of his stars making the trip to Melbourne for last night’s All Australian function.

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Josh Kennedy and Jeremy McGovern were both included in the All Australian team, while Kennedy was presented with the Coleman medal at the event.

Kennedy and McGovern both missed training to attend the ceremony.

“He (Simpson) is probably just not happy because we fly a fair bit during the year and we’ve chucked an extra flight in when we probably didn’t have to,” Kennedy told the Seven Network.

“With the finals series as well, if we keep pushing forward we’ve got to fly a bit. It’s probably not ideal, but it is what it is.”

The league introduced a pre-finals bye this season, hoping it would allow players based outside Victoria to attend the All Australian event.

In previous years most clubs involved in finals have refused to let stars attend the Brownlow count, All Australian function and other award nights.

“Yes, of course,” Simpson said, when asked if he’d prefer Kennedy and McGovern stayed in Perth.

“But we also respect the award and the recognition and the demands.”

McGovern was one of nine stars to earn All-Australian honours for the first time.

Sydney’s Luke Parker and Dane Rampe, Adelaide on-baller Rory Sloane, Richmond gun Dustin Martin, Western Bulldogs whizzkid Marcus Bontempelli, Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn, Gold Coast forward Tom Lynch and GWS’s Toby Greene were the other debutants.

AFL minor premiers Sydney dominated the new-look All Australian team, supplying almost a quarter of the players, also including Lance Franklin, Dan Hannebery, Josh Kennedy and Dane Rampe.

Joel Selwood was named All Australian skipper for the third time, leaving Wayne Carey as the only player to have received that honour more than the Geelong captain.

“It’s changed a lot. I was fortunate enough in my younger years that I was surrounded by a lot of players that could have done the job at the time too,” Selwood said of his leadership approach over the past five years.

Meanwhile, McGovern delivered one of the most memorable moments of the night by detailing how he recently celebrated catching an elusive red emperor.

“I don’t know if it is a ritual – but it is now. When you catch it you’ve got to pull the heart out and eat the heart while it’s still beating,” the defender said on stage.

“So if anyone ever catches one, make sure you do it.”

Another debutant was GWS half-forward Toby Greene, who was at the career crossroads not so long ago.

After transitioning from the midfield, he has been a smash hit in his latest role, but he said it needed some stern words from coach Leon Cameron to get him on track after a rocky start to the season.

Previously a prolific ball-winning midfielder, Greene played as a forward for part of last year but moved into the role on a fulltime basis this season.

He has shone as both a scorer and provider, but has continued to rack up healthy possession numbers.

Greene has more than doubled his previous best season goal haul booting 39 while totting up 21 touches a game, the highest average of any of the top 20 goalkickers.

He has underlined his selflessness by being the joint third highest player for goal assists this season and has executed more tackles than in any other year of his career.

Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL player Toby Greene takes part in a training session in Sydney on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. The Giants will play the Sydney Swans in the first qualifying final at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, September 10. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING

Toby Greene has found a new lease of life at GWS this season. Photo: Paul Miller / AAP

Greene said it had definitely been his most consistent year, though he didn’t make a good start in the opening round loss to Melbourne, when he touched the ball just 12 times.

“Leon spoke to me at the start of the year, the first game of the year was one of my worst games,” Greene said.

“He just said ‘you’re a fifth-year player now, you’ve got to be bringing the same footy week in week out.’

“It’s something I’ve tried to work on and I think I’ve been able to do that, but I want to be able to do it in finals.”

Greene credited the coaching staff and fellow Giants small forwards Steve Johnson and Devon Smith for helping him adjust to his position.

“Amon Buchanan is our forwards coach and I guess I sort of play a similar role to him when he was playing, so he’s been really good for that,” Greene said.

“Obviously having having guys like Stevie and Dev, now that Dev has played eight games back (from injury), we’re starting to work really well together and hopefully we can bring that into finals.”

Greene is part of a potent and multi-faceted Giants forward line.

They are the second highest scoring side in the competition – after Adelaide – and he is one of four Giants to have kicked over 30 goals, alongside Jeremy Cameron (49), Johnson (43) and Jon Patton (34).

“I guess it makes it harder for teams coming up against us if everyone (up forward) can provide different strengths,” Greene said.

“Even the three key forwards play different to each other, so I think it’s building that synergy with each other.”

-AAP

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