The MRP has failed, letting the dangerous Toby Greene off

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, 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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    The Crowd Says (117)

    • August 15th 2017 @ 5:36am
      Mike from tari said | August 15th 2017 @ 5:36am | ! Report

      He must have seen replays of Billy Slater doing the same thing a few years ago.

      • August 15th 2017 @ 11:13am
        Cugel said | August 15th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        Slater got off as well IIRC

    • August 15th 2017 @ 6:50am
      Geoff Schaefer said | August 15th 2017 @ 6:50am | ! Report

      Hard to argue against your summary Cam. I suspect Eagles fans may vent a bit of fan fury this weekend.

    • August 15th 2017 @ 7:40am
      truetigerfan said | August 15th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Totally agree, Cameron. All for players ‘protecting their space’ but not in this manner. Use of the feet is dangerous and unAustralian. Should be outlawed!

      • Columnist

        August 15th 2017 @ 9:22am
        Cameron Rose said | August 15th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Yeah, this went beyond protecting the space.

        • Roar Guru

          August 15th 2017 @ 3:29pm
          JamesH said | August 15th 2017 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

          I’m glad we’re back to seeing eye-to-eye on the MRP, Cam! This was a reprehensible, dog-act. BT’s defence of it on Sunday and then again on Monday night was really disappointing, if unsurprising. He still thinks it’s 1989.

          I’m mystified as to how Merrett, Hawkins and Redpath could get weeks for little slap-punches (particularly Merrett for a first offence) and yet Greene and Wines get off with fines for actions that could have caused serious head injury.

    • Roar Guru

      August 15th 2017 @ 7:56am
      Redb said | August 15th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Greene deserved a week for rough conduct. This would have been the appropriate punishment.

      • Columnist

        August 15th 2017 @ 9:23am
        Cameron Rose said | August 15th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        I would have liked two, Redb, but could have seen up to three or four. I’ll bet if he does it again, he’ll get closer to four.

        • August 15th 2017 @ 4:21pm
          David C said | August 15th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

          I think that’s the point Cam. This was such a polarising, awkward and unusual incident that the punishment is just a warning to tell everyone not to do it. Agreed the next occurrence (if there is one) whether it be by Toby or anyone else would be more severe.

          • August 16th 2017 @ 6:43pm
            MissionMan said | August 16th 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

            How can it be? The MRP set the benchmark so low that if anyone else does it, they know all they will get is a fine. They didn’t even come out afterwards to say “this is just a warning, if it happens again it will be a x game suspension”

            If I was the eagles, I would be jumping with studs exposed every time Toby came within 5m of me because at worst it’s a $1500 fine

            • Roar Guru

              August 16th 2017 @ 7:10pm
              Cat said | August 16th 2017 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

              You expect consistency from the mrp? Must not be paying attention to anything the mrp has ever done, they’ve never been consistent except in their inconsistency.

    • August 15th 2017 @ 8:07am
      me too said | August 15th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      Funny you mention Hawkins in an article about raising the foot head high to protect yourself.

      • August 15th 2017 @ 8:18am
        Rissole said | August 15th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

        He does seem to enjoy kicking people in marking contests.

      • Roar Guru

        August 15th 2017 @ 9:07am
        Cat said | August 15th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Like Hawkins is ever gonna get high enough to get his foot in a head. Agree he is very awkward when he is trying to jump. Wish he would stop, gives away more free kicks doing it than it helps.

        • Columnist

          August 15th 2017 @ 9:23am
          Cameron Rose said | August 15th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

          Yeah, Hawkins always looks slightly unco when planting his foot in a marking contest.

    • August 15th 2017 @ 8:24am
      Soufs said | August 15th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      AFL, you are a joke.

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