'Act of contempt': Toby Greene appeal ends in Giants disaster

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·Sports Reporter
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GWS Giants star Toby Greene has had his three-week ban for umpire contact extended to sox weeks after the AFL appealed the severity of the ban. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
GWS Giants star Toby Greene has had his three-week ban for umpire contact extended to sox weeks after the AFL appealed the severity of the ban. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)

The AFL has successfully appealed the severity of GWS Giants star Toby Greene's ban for making contact with an umpire.

Greene was initially handed a three-week ban for his contact with umpire Matt Stevic during the Giants' elimination final victory over Sydney, which the league's appeals board doubled on Thursday.

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He had been charged with intentional umpire contact by the Match Review Officer after bumping into Stevic as he walked towards the GWS huddle at three-quarter time.

Afterwards, the AFL described the penalty as 'manifestly inadequate', launching the appeal which was delayed until earlier this week.

Greene has already served one match of his suspension - having missed the Giants' semi-final defeat to Geelong - and will not be available until round six next year.

The increased sanction will satisfy AFL boss Gillon McLachlan, who said last month he found the length of the initial ban "personally hard to reconcile".

AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson labelled Greene's actions an 'act of contempt' towards the umpire, adding that the three week ban was not enough to convey the seriousness of what had happened.

"A three-match ban conveys that it (Greene's action) was inappropriate, but not seriously so," Gleeson said.

"It was a brazen act and an act of contempt towards the umpire.

"We shouldn't be distracted by contact being relatively minor.

"If it was major, Mr Greene wouldn't be playing AFL football again.

"The message that needs to be communicated to Mr Greene and all players and participants and viewers and umpires and prospective umpires is you simply do not aggressively touch an umpire."

Toby Greene ban doubled after AFL appeal

Neither Greene not Stevic was required to give evidence for the appeals board.

Greene had apologised to Stevic during the initial Tribunal hearing, conceding he was at fault for making contact with the umpire.

AFL appeals board chairman Murray Kellam agreed Greene's penalty needed to send a message to all corners of the game.

"In our view it is obvious, taking into account the purpose of sanction in the circumstances of this case, that a three-week suspension is not only inadequate but demonstrably and manifestly so," Kellam said in handing down the board's decision.

Greene filled in as GWS captain when regular skipper Stephen Coniglio was injured last season and is in contention to take on the role full-time.

The Giants will be without key midfielder Toby Greene until round 6 next season, but the club continues to back his leadership abilities. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
The Giants will be without key midfielder Toby Greene until round 6 next season, but the club continues to back his leadership abilities. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The 28-year-old's leadership qualities are highly regarded by the Giants despite his repeated indiscretions, which have led to 22 charges over his decade-long career.

Greene has now been suspended for a total of 14 matches and accrued almost $30,000 worth of fines.

A week before the appeal hearing, GWS Giants football boss Jason McCartney said he believed the club had made the correct decision to delay the hearing and focus on their finals hopes.

The league's appeal was delayed until the end of the season at the Giants' request as they focused on their finals campaign, which ended in a semi-final defeat to Geelong.

"We went through that process at the time and it was definitely the right thing to do to push it out beyond the end of the season," GWS football boss Jason McCartney told Trade Radio on Thursday.

"We would've loved to have won that semi-final against Geelong and progressed a bit further.

"Toby had an outstanding year and we're disappointed he found himself in that situation but we moved on and that will run its course over the next week or two."

With AAP

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