AFL umpire's mic picks up crucial evidence in Toby Greene case

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·Sports Reporter
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GWS Giants midfielder Toby Greene is fronting the AFL Tribunal over a charge of intentionally making contact with umpire Matt Stevic during last weekend's elimination final. Picture: Channel 7
GWS Giants midfielder Toby Greene is fronting the AFL Tribunal over a charge of intentionally making contact with umpire Matt Stevic during last weekend's elimination final. Picture: Channel 7

AFL player Toby Greene and umpire Matt Stevic have both given evidence at the Tribunal hearing which will determine whether the GWS Giants star will be free to play in this weekend's semi-final.

Discussion of Greene's appearance at the Tribunal has dominated the AFL world after he was charged with intentional contact with an umpire.

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Greene appeared to bump into umpire Stevic nearing three quarter time of the Giants' elimination final victory over cross-town rivals Sydney.

With the season still to play for, Greene pleaded not guilty to the charge - but the Tribunal found him guilty.

Evidence presented to the tribunal showed Greene telling Stevic 'He took a f***ing dive' regarding a play earlier in the quarter, before Greene appeared to bump into the umpire's shoulder as he walked past.

In his evidence, Stevic told the Tribunal that while there was 'an element of being disrespectful', he had not felt Greene's actions were to intimidate him, not did he feel threatened.

“I was aware Toby Greene made some minor contact with me as he walked by. I considered the contact minor and didn’t feel threatened at the time,” he said.

“To be honest I don’t think it’s a good look for the game. Not forceful, but some may form the view it’s demonstrative."

For his part, despite pleading not guilty, Greene apologised for his actions and accepted it was not the image the AFL wanted for its players.

“I do apologise for making contact and it’s certainly something I wasn’t trying to do,” he said.

“I agree it’s not a great look for the game and I do apologise.”

Greene later said he was not aware he had made contact with Stevic until a post-match interview with Channel 7 sideline host Luke Hodge.

The Tribunal is expected to deliver a verdict later on Tuesday.

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Many players have leapt to Greene's defence, with the 27-year-old's finals fate hanging in the balance ahead of the Giants' semi-final showdown with Geelong.

But Brisbane coach Chris Fagan and Port Adelaide counterpart Ken Hinkley took the opposite view when we quizzed about the incident during an appearance on Fox Footy on Monday night.

"It doesn't look good," Fagan said, having watched it on replay.

"I don't think we can condone at all contact with umpires, so for me I think personally he (Greene) is in a little bit of trouble.

"As much as we all love watching him play and he entertains us and brings life to the game, you just can't do that sort of stuff.

"It's a good reminder to everyone."

The GWS Giants will be at a serious disadvantage if Toby Greene is suspended by the AFL Tribunal ahead of this weekend's semi-final. (Photo by Grant Viney/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
The GWS Giants will be at a serious disadvantage if Toby Greene is suspended by the AFL Tribunal ahead of this weekend's semi-final. (Photo by Grant Viney/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Hinkley noted the intense spotlight on the case, given Greene's high profile and long tribunal history, as well as the fact the incident occurred during week one of the finals series.

The Power coach said those factors should not affect the outcome of the tribunal hearing, but also said respect for umpires is one of the game's few "non-negotiables".

"You don't abuse and you don't go near umpires - you respect them for what they bring to the game," Hinkley said.

"It would be a terrible game without them.

"It's a difficult situation but it looks reasonably clear."

Greene's absence would be a huge blow for GWS as they attempt to upset Geelong in a sudden-death semi-final at Perth's Optus Stadium on Friday night.

With AAP

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