Toby Greene’s last chance at escaping suspension for Saturday night’s preliminary final against Collingwood is over, after the AFL Tribunal voted to uphold the ban given to him on Tuesday night.
Greene on Tuesday challenged a one-match suspension that was given to him for an offence of ‘unreasonable or unnecessary contact to the eye region’ on Lachie Neale during GWS’ semi-final win over Brisbane.
Despite Neale providing testimony that he had did not recall Greene making any contact to his eye, the tribunal voted to uphold the ban, and Neale remained suspended.
This came after Greene was reported for ‘serious misconduct’ the week prior following a similar incident with Marcus Bontempelli, but was fined $7500 rather than being suspended.
The Giants confirmed less than 30 minutes after Greene’s Tuesday night tribunal hearing finished that they would be appealing the decision.
The appeal was heard by an entirely different tribunal to that which sat on Tuesday, made up of Stephen Jurica and Richard Loveridge, and chaired by Murray Kellam.
Greene was represented by both Adrian Anderson and Ross Gillies, while the AFL was again represented by Nick Pane.
The Giants argued that the decision was so unreasonable that it could not have been reasonably made with regards to the evidence, and that the classification of the offence was excessive or inadequate, with regards to Greene’s conduct being assessed as ‘intentional’.
Gillies argued that the tribunal on Tuesday night had made three errors – he argued that no contact was made to Neale’s eye region, and that any contact made was both negligible, and unintentional.
“There is nothing there to support the three major conclusions. If any one of them is wrong, we win. And they’re all wrong,” said Gillies.
Over a period of more than an hour making his client’s case, Gillies said the Neale testimony on Tuesday had been “good and fairly given”, and that Nick Pane’s assertion that it was “vague” was unfair.
“There is an avalanche of evidence that is completely contradictory to the assertion that Toby Greene made illegal contact to the eye region of Lachie Neale,” said Gillies.
“We don’t know what the Match Review Officer was doing. We don’t know what the tribunal was doing.”
Making his case, Pane insisted the video evidence provided room for an interpretation that Greene was guilty of the offence of which he was accused.
“Having not accepted Greene’s version of events… the issue of why his hand appeared across Neale’s face with that raking movement was such that it was open for the tribunal to find that his actions were intentional,” said Pane.
After a fifteen-minute deliberation, the tribunal decided to uphold Greene’s one-match suspension. He will be available to play in the AFL Grand Final, should the Giants qualify.