The MRP has failed, letting the dangerous Toby Greene off

Cameron Rose Columnist

By , Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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    The only thing more repulsive than Toby Greene’s action on Luke Dahlhaus was the pathetic response from the AFL Match Review Panel.

    The MRP has doubled down on its own stupidity and plumbed rarely before seen depths of ignorance, in handing out a $1500 fine for misconduct against Greene.

    Greene savagely and brutally launched his foot, studs first, into the face of Dahlhaus in last Friday night’s clash between GWS and the Western Bulldogs. It wasn’t so much a kick, as a mid-air face-stomp. It’s one of the rare tribunal incidents that looks worse on full speed replay than it does in slow motion.

    The Giants were running the ball from half-back and along the wing with a chain of handballs. Greene was facing the teammate he was receiving the ball from, Nick Haynes, and also the incoming Dahlhaus, who was looking to apply pressure.

    Haynes put up the handball to a stationary Greene, who despite no need for it, jumped to take the ball. It’s hard to argue that taking possession was his primary focus in this incident. It appeared to be a happy accident. His main intent for jumping was so he could launch his foot towards the oncoming Dahlhaus, and plant it as firmly as he could in his face.

    Once his studs are planted in the face of Dahlhaus, Greene takes special care to get leverage, and forcefully extend his leg in order to inflict as much damage as he can. It’s the action of someone who wants to do harm, and has thought about it in the few seconds of lead up.

    One of the most common assessments of Toby Greene the footballer is how canny he is, how smart. He is particularly praised for these attributes in one-on-one contests, both in the air and on the ground.

    One of Greene’s key traits is the ability to use his body to best advantage, judging the ball and his opponent. Few make better use of space, judgement and their own physical attributes. It is laughable to suggest that none of this translates to the contest with Dahlhaus.

    Defenders of Greene, and there have been many, argue that he was merely protecting the space in front of him with his leg. Superficially, this is true. It was one of the things he was doing.

    Toby Greene GWS Giants AFL 2017 tall

    (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    But protecting the space in front of you when stationary is a different action to purposefully jumping at a ball with your foot outstretched towards a vulnerable opponents face.

    Leigh Matthews, on Melbourne radio on Saturday, said he had never quite seen anything like it in his time in football. This speaks to what an unnatural action it was. This was actually more evidence against it being an accident. It’s impossible to accidentally face-stomp an opponent in mid-air the way Greene did. There’s a reason we haven’t seen it before.

    Greene’s history speaks to his intent in an action such as this. He deserves no benefit of the doubt.

    The MRP should have graded the action as intentional and high, and sent it straight to the tribunal. Let Greene, a career recidivist, argue his way out of it.

    Tom Hawkins can’t even shake hands with an opponent without getting suspended. He should use his feet next time, and send his bloody opponent off for some stitches.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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