'Manifestly inadequate': AFL makes bombshell Toby Greene call

·3-min read
Pictured here, Toby Greene reacts during GWS' finals wins against the Sydney Swans.
The AFL is appealing the length of the three-game ban handed to Toby Greene for making contact with an umpire. Pic: Getty

AFL officials have decided to appeal the three-game ban handed to Greater Western Sydney star Toby Greene for making contact with an umpire during his side's elimination final victory over the Sydney Swans.

Following a marathon tribunal hearing on Tuesday, Greene's contact with experienced whistle-blower Matt Stevic was deemed to be intentional, after he walked into the umpire during Sunday's game.

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AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan initially welcomed the tribunal's decision to find Greene guilty, but admitted he was unhappy that the GWS star had only been whacked with a three-match ban.

McLachlan said he found the length of the suspension "personally hard to reconcile" with the fact a jury of former players found Greene guilty of an "aggressive, demonstrative and disrespectful" interaction with the umpire.

During a four-hour tribunal hearing on Tuesday, AFL lawyer Jeff Gleeson QC called for a minimum six-match ban, with McLachlan leading calls to appeal the tribunal's more lenient sentence.

On Thursday, the AFL confirmed that it would appeal the length of Greene's ban, with the date yet to be determined.

One thing that is certain is the appeals hearing won't take place until after the grand final, due to the Giants' travel and quarantine requirements for the finals series.

Regardless of the outcome, Greene's season is over as a result of the contentious incident, with GWS confirming they will not be appealing his three-game ban.

The AFL will likely attempt to prove the tribunal's sanction was "manifestly inadequate", rather than there was an error of law in Greene's hearing.

Seen here, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and GWS star Toby Greene.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan says he found the penalty given to Toby Greene for making contact with an umpire 'hard to reconcile' with the evidence tendered at the Tribunal. Pictures: Getty Images

Greene is with GWS in Perth ahead of Friday night's semi-final against Geelong and will remain with the travelling party for the rest of their campaign.

Giants captain Stephen Coniglio argued the 27-year-old star will be an ideal sounding board for inexperienced teammates.

"He's disappointed in himself and disappointed he can't play, but even this morning his energy is back up," Coniglio said.

"Toby has shown remorse. You simply can't do that in our game, we hold the umpires in such high regard and treat them with a lot of respect."

Coniglio is yet to discuss the matter in depth with Greene, whose inability to manage white-line fever has cost the club again.

Toby Greene ban 'quite significant'

"Our sole purpose in the next two days is to prepare for this Geelong game," Coniglio said.

"When the time is right (we'll talk about it). If he needs anything then my phone is always on, if he wants to come and have a chat he can."

Meanwhile, AFL Players' Association president Patrick Dangerfield concedes players can "definitely improve" their on-field treatment of umpires.

"It's a fine line," Geelong star Dangerfield told SEN radio.

"I'm as guilty as anyone around the off-hand comment, but they're such an important part of our game.

"We have to be better with how we treat them."

Dangerfield disagreed with McLachlan's assessment that Greene's three-match ban is not severe enough.

"You can say it's lenient, but at this time of year you can argue it's quite significant," Dangerfield said.

"We have to be mindful and I'll keep coming back to this that we have a role to play in the community.

"It's difficult sometimes, under the heat."

with AAP

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