Toby Greene ban upheld, leaving GWS Giants 'bitterly disappointed'

The GWS Giants have failed in their last-ditch bid to overturn Toby Greene’s one match suspension at the AFL Appeals Board.

The club took the case to the higher body after Greene’s ban for making unreasonable or unnecessary contact to the eye of Brisbane’s Lachie Neale was upheld by the AFL Tribunal earlier this week.

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The lengthy hearing saw the Giants present over an hour’s worth of evidence to the Appeals Board.

The Giants, lead by Ross Gillies QC, argued that the AFL Tribunal’s decision to throw out their first appeal was ‘unreasonable’ and that grading the incident as ‘intentional’ was ‘manifestly excessive’.

Gillies also submitted that the Tribunal had made a number of decisions that were ‘perversely incorrect’.

Toby Greene of the Giants is seen during his AFL Tribunal Appeal Hearing at AFL House on September 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Centre to their argument was evidence the Giants believed proved Greene did not make excessive contact to Neale’s eyes or face, including statements from the Lions midfielder and a media interview with Brisbane coach Chris Fagan.

The AFL’s counsel reiterated evidence transcipts from both Greene and Neale for their case, which took substantially less time than the Giants’.

They argued that there was no explanation for Greene’s hand to be on Neale’s face, nor could the ‘raking motion’ be explained.

The Herald Sun reported soon after the appeal was heard that the Giants would not take their case to court.

Greene said he was saddened he would not take to the field against the Magpies.

“I’m bitterly disappointed. We thought we had a strong case. I’m looking forward to Saturday and supporting my teammates,” he said.

Giants’ grand final hopes take a hit

The failure to overturn Greene’s ban, or reduce it to a fine, comes as a huge blow to the Giants’ finals chances.

As the Giants prepare to push for their first Grand Final start, they’ll have to face Collingwood on Saturday night without Greene, as well as superstar midfield duo Stephen Coniglio and Lachie Whitfield, the latter of whom was hospitalised with appendicitis earlier in the week.

Bobby Hill is slated to come in to the team, Lachie Keffe will replace Greene.