For all Hugh Greenwood’s good work on the field against former club Adelaide on Sunday, it’s behind the scenes that the Gold Coast recruit has truly impressed new coach Stuart Dew.
The Suns kept the Crows scoreless in the first term at Metricon Stadium on their way to a 12.10 (82) to 4.5 (29) victory, with Greenwood laying 13 tackles to go with 10 contested possessions and eight clearances to set the tone.
Traded to the Suns for a third and fourth-round pick, Crows football boss Mark Ricciuto said the 28-year-old was not going to be part of their next premiership side when justifying the move.
He added that the trade was an effort to speed up a midfield many viewed as the slowest in the AFL.
Greenwood cheekily tweeted “if only I were younger and quicker” after the win, instigating a good-natured back and forth between the pair.
It’s the kind of confidence Dew has welcomed into the fold and contributed to their terrific form since the competition’s return.
“He does a lot of the legwork, is really hard to tackle and draws people in,” Dew said of the former professional basketball player.
“But a lot of the stuff we love about Hugh is off the field; his care for teammates throughout that shutdown period was outstanding.
“(He’s played) just over 50 games, but in terms of life experience he’s had a lot and he’s got a good eye for guys that need support.
“We’re really lucky to have him.”
The Suns moved to 2-1 ahead of Saturday’s clash with Fremantle, when they will again start in the unique position of favourites.
But they were 3-1 last season though before losing their next 19 games and Dew isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“We don’t want to predict and we don’t want to look back,” the coach said.
“We’ve got Fremantle in six days and that’s going to be an important step again.
“If we think that we’ve got there and turned a corner … we’ve got to have the attitude that we’ve never turned the corner, and are just hungry for the next contest.”
Dew could be tempted to tinker again with a winning side after the successful return of forward Izak Rankine in a scratch match earlier on Sunday.
The goal sneak impressed Dew in more than 40 minutes of playing time in a sign he could on the cusp of an overdue AFL debut.