Uproar over 'ridiculous' Toby Greene interview after umpire incident

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Toby Greene, pictured here being interviewed about his incident with the umpire.
Luke Hodge's interview with Toby Greene has been widely slammed. Image: Getty

AFL fans and commentators have slammed Luke Hodge's interview with Toby Greene after the GWS talisman landed himself in hot water for making contact with an umpire.

Greene could be headed for another date at the AFL tribunal after brushing shoulders with umpire Matt Stevic amid a heated on-field debate during GWS' win over Sydney.

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The match review officer is certain to scrutinise every angle of the incident after Greene helped the Giants prevail by one point against their cross-town rivals on Saturday.

Greene, most likely querying a momentum-shifting decision to reverse a free kick late in the third quarter, made a beeline for Stevic, pointing in the umpire's direction before bumping into him.

Stevic wasn't knocked off course but looked far from pleased, while the league generally takes a dim view of players making any form of contact with a whistleblower.

Greene attempted to brush off the incident that put him at risk of missing next week's semi-final against Geelong, while coach Leon Cameron argued "it wouldn't have been intentional".

AFL great Hodge also expressed the belief that the incident was simply an accident in a post-game interview with Greene that has sparked controversy.

Interviewing the GWS player for Channel 7, the former Hawthorn and Brisbane player said: “We saw you had a collision with the umpire running past, it looked like you were in a tractor beam running towards your teammates. An accidental bit of contact."

Greene responded: “I don’t know what it was. It was just in the moment and certainly would never touch him. I was just talking to him about something in the game, but yeah.”

Hodge then said: “You could tell it was a total accident”.

Toby Greene, pictured here celebrating with teammates after GWS' win over Sydney.
Toby Greene celebrates with teammates after GWS' win over Sydney. (Photo by Steve Bell/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Controversy erupts over Toby Greene interview

Veteran footy journalist Rohan Connolly took to Twitter to declare Hodge was “working hard to get Greene off in post-game interview”.

Fellow journalist Vince Rugari wrote: “Bit of a strange interview from Luke Hodge. Definitely wanted to avoid even a hint of confrontation on the umpire contact. Would probably hate to be the GWS official who has to let Toby know”.

While Craig Dixon of the ABC said it was a “ridiculous interpretation by Hodge”.

Channel 7 commentators Luke Darcy and Matthew Richardson also appeared to believe the contact was unintentional, but Fox Footy analyst David King said Greene is in “a lot of trouble”.

“I don’t think there’s any way of talking around this,” he said.

“The umpires are a no-go zone and when you decide to walk into their path... I think he made a calculated decision. He’s made a big error and unfortunately he’ll miss several weeks.

“You just can’t do that.”

Richmond star Jack Riewoldt told Fox Footy: “It doesn’t look great. He’s got no one else to blame but himself."

Greene was assessed for touching umpire Jacob Mollison earlier this season, but that was deemed to "not constitute a reportable offence".

No modern-day player has been found guilty by the AFL's disciplinary process more than Greene, who has accumulated almost $30,000 in match-review fines.

Coach Cameron played a straight bat after Greene booted three goals in the victory.

"I just love the way he goes about things. I know he's a talked-about player but I'd like to really hone in on the positive stuff," Cameron said.

"His first three quarters were unbelievable in terms of the footy he played.

"Clearly it's a talking point but all I know is it wouldn't have been intentional."

with AAP

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