GWS will make one last roll of the dice in a desperate bid to retain talismanic forward Toby Greene for Saturday's AFL preliminary final against Collingwood.
The Giants have confirmed they will front the AFL appeals board on Thursday night after Greene failed to overturn his one-match ban for making unreasonable or unnecessary contact to the eye region of Brisbane's Lachie Neale.
Tuesday night's shock tribunal verdict came despite favourable testimony from Neale, who said he couldn't recall feeling any contact to his eyes.
However damning new footage has emerged appearing to show the moment Greene rakes his fingers across Neale’s eyes.
Richo, I love you, but he's literally scratched his eye here.... pic.twitter.com/ADQsqL2n3U
— Luke Brazier (@lukeybrazier) September 17, 2019
Greene's enormous importance to the Giants was emphasised during the semi-final victory at the Gabba, where he gathered 30 disposals and booted two goals.
The firebrand Giant had been at risk of missing that game but escaped with a $7500 fine for misconduct against Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli - a charge that also centred on Greene making contact with an opponent's face.
While Greene's growing rap sheet is a concern for the Giants, not having him available to face the Pies would be an even bigger worry.
GWS have only managed three wins from 18 games at the MCG and have never won a final there.
The Giants wasted little time deciding to appeal but the odds are stacked against them given only two out of 16 players have successfully challenged tribunal verdicts, the last being Melbourne midfielder Jack Viney in 2014.
More recent appeals have come from the AFL rather than clubs.
Richmond's Bachar Houli notably had a two-week striking ban doubled by the appeals board in 2017 after the AFL mounted an unprecedented challenge against his initial sanction.
The AFL also went to the appeals board last season to seek harsher penalties against Carlton brothers Charlie and Ed Curnow for making contact with umpires.
Ed Curnow's charge was upgraded from careless to intentional contact and his penalty changed from a fine to a suspension.
AFL world divided
The tribunal’s decision has divided opinion among the AFL community, but Richmond star Jack Riewoldt admitted Greene’s actions were a bad look.
“It’s definitely not acceptable. He’s been fined last week and suspended this week, you can’t do that,” Riewoldt said on AFL 360.
“Twice in two weeks, it is something that needs to be looked at.
“He is such a good player that the only people he is hurting are his teammates, who are missing out on arguably the best player in the finals.”
Others felt there wasn’t enough evidence to ban him.
The @AFL tribunal have absolutely lost the plot on the Toby Greene case. Farcical. The charge was making unreasonable contact to the eyes of Neale. No video evidence of contact being made and Neale said no contact made and no physical sign of contact made.
— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) September 17, 2019
Toby Greene suspended for a questionable “offence” allegedly committed in a game he shouldn’t have been playing because the AFL Tribunal stuffed things up last week.#Constitution#Mabo#Justice#Law#TheVibe
— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) September 17, 2019
This seriously must be the most unjust one game suspension in the history of the game. Yes, he can be a serial pest but surely you have to commit a crime to do the time. One game for a swinging round arm... one game for... who knows what? Who benefits most I wonder? https://t.co/Bbrt047v9m
— Graham Cornes (@Cornesy12) September 17, 2019