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AFL News: 'Shame for our game' - legend unloads on Greene ban, 'world's gone mad' as skinfold tests punted

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23rd April, 2024
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Damien Hardwick has predicted Toby Greene’s one-match suspension will be upheld by the AFL tribunal, but the triple-premiership coach says he wouldn’t ban the GWS captain.

Meanwhile, AFL Nick Riewoldt described the ban as a “shame for our game” and was a case of the AFL covering themselves for fear of future legal action.

“What a shame for our game. What a shame. If that’s the direction ‘the powers that be’ want to take our game… people will vote with their feet, and you’ll start to lose people,” Riewoldt said on LiSTNR’s Footy Talk podcast.

“It’s one of the beauties of our game, the aerial contest, when players have to run in not knowing what’s coming and fly for a contested ball.

“Zero malice in the incident. Absolutely zero malice. Credit to both players but Toby Greene is the one who’s paid the price from a suspension point of view. He (Greene) is all eyes on the footy, and then he makes the decision to jump to the footy. He wasn’t jumping up. He was jumping to the footy. And then what you’re asking a player to supersede instinct and reaction.”

He later added: “It’s not changing player behaviour because if you’re a ball player and you’re courageous, like Toby Greene is in the air, it’s not going to change your behaviour.

“All it’s doing is safeguarding the AFL so that in ten years’ time, when a player goes to pursue legal action against the AFL, they can say, ‘oh yeah, but we had this rule ten years ago where if you made contact with the head then you got suspended, so we didn’t condone it.’ That’s the only reason this is happening. It’s not going to change behaviour and I think it’s unrealistic to expect Toby Greene to do anything else.”

Greene will front the tribunal on Tuesday night to challenge his rough conduct charge, with teammate Jesse Hogan also set to contest a striking ban.


Both star forwards are in danger of missing the Giants’ difficult assignment against the Brisbane Lions in Canberra on Anzac Day.

All-Australian captain Greene, who has a long history of indiscretions, faces his first suspension in more than two years over his mid-air bump on Carlton defender Jordan Boyd.

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Greene led at the ball and jumped for a mark but turned his body just before a collision and made contact with the head of Boyd, who was going back with the flight of the ball.

Boyd got up immediately to take a free kick and played out the match.

Greene’s actions were graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

“It’s a challenge. I think under the letter of the law at the moment he’s probably in trouble,” Hardwick said on Fox Footy on Monday night.


“But I’m of the opinion that at the end of the day Toby jumps and tried to contest and then tried to protect (himself).

“If it’s me personally, I’m probably letting him off, but the reality is I think the AFL tribunal will probably give him a week.”

Toby Greene and Jordan Boyd collide.

Toby Greene and Jordan Boyd collide. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Collingwood coach Craig McRae said the Greene-Boyd collision highlighted a “delicate balance” for players and coaches.

He also underlined the importance of the AFL protecting players’ heads, noting Magpies defender Nathan Murphy announced his retirement this month because of concussion.

“You want your players to attack the footy hard and then there’s consequences,” Pies premiership mentor McRae said on Fox Footy.

“He (Greene) is going to have to attack the footy but then there’s consequences, isn’t there?


“There’s always going to be grey (areas) in our game and we’ve got to live with it.

“I’ll leave it up to others to dissect it within an inch of its life but I’ll say that I’m a massive advocate for protecting the head in the game.”

Melbourne captain Max Gawn said the Greene-Boyd collision divided opinion amongst his Demons teammates.

“This is the new sling tackle for 2024, going for a mark and getting someone,” Gawn said on Triple M.

“It seems to be that every year there’s a new tribunal decision where you go, ‘Wow, that’s out of the game now.’

“It feels like it’s now going for a mark and defending yourself. When I watched it, I thought, ‘Yeah, he’s suspended’. But it split the change room.”


Hogan’s left-handed blow to Blues defender Young’s head during an off-the-ball scuffle in the goal square was graded intentional conduct, low impact and high contact.

Gawn joked that his former Melbourne teammate Hogan will get off his striking charge because he’s “a great bloke”, but added Greene would be “pushing uphill” to do the same because of his long tribunal rap sheet.

The light-hearted comments poked fun at Brisbane goal-sneak Charlie Cameron being able to escape his one-match suspension last week under “exceptional and compelling circumstances”, owing to a clean record.

West Coast could seek to use the same “exemplary character” clause to free Tom Barrass of his one-match ban after the defender was charged with rough conduct over a dangerous tackle on Fremantle’s Michael Walters.

Part of Brisbane’s defence was that Cameron has played more than 200 games without suspension, while Barrass has played 138 since his debut in 2015.

“You’d have to ask the people that are defending Tom but all I know he’s a pretty good fella,” Eagles assistant coach Jarrad Schofield said.

No skinfold tests for draftees


AFL clubs will reportedly no longer be able to conduct skinfold tests on players they may draft due to concerns about the results impacting the mental health of the draftees.

A memo has been sent to clubs to inform them of the changes for players they are considering for the next Draft and the Talented Pathways program, according to a report on Footy Classified.

“Body Composition assessments (excluding height and weight) will not be conducted in any Talent Pathways programs or on any athletes that are eligible to compete in the Pathways programs,” the memo from Dr Kate Hall and Grant Williams read.

“Body weights will only be measured by qualified High Performance/Sport Scientists, Sports Dietitians, or Medical Practitioners, in a safe and private setting. All data collected must be kept private.”

Bombers legend Matthew Lloyd was gobsmacked by the plan, saying skinfold testing was a necessary way to determine a player’s fitness and was in no way “fat-shaming”.


“I think the world’s gone mad,” he said. “I’ve never known a player in my time that didn’t take it for what it was.

“You get your skinfolds done and you go, ‘you know what, I’m at the level, I’m above the level’.”

He added that when he was above his target level on one occasion during his career, it was a massive wake-up call to himself.

“I reckon you’ll struggle with the game anyway if you can’t cope with that,” Lloyd said.

Kane Cornes was also bemused by the end of skinfold testing.

“You have to wonder whether that prepares them the best possible way for the challenges that they are going to face once they get into the system,” the Port Adelaide stalwart said.

Oliver cleared for Tigers tussle


With his troublesome finger fixed up, Melbourne star Clayton Oliver is primed to bounce back to top form against Richmond, coach Simon Goodwin says.

Oliver underwent minor surgery this month while the Demons enjoyed an extended 13-day break during their early season bye round.

He had been wearing a protective glove earlier in the season but struggled in the Demons’ heavy loss to Brisbane on April 11.

The 26-year-old is back training normally ahead of Wednesday’s ‘Anzac Day Eve’ blockbuster against the Tigers at the MCG.

“There’s no question that carrying that finger for three weeks, the weight of that in the last game, especially, was getting really hard for him,” Goodwin said.

“So to get that fixed, to get him healthy and to get him functioning really well is important. 

“And you can see once again, similar to the start of the season, he’s got that smile on his face. He’s got that eagerness and that energy to come out and perform.


“You can see the energy and life that it’s brought back into him, and the way he trained was unbelievable the other day.”

Clayton Oliver of the Demons is tackled by Brodie Smith of the Crows

Clayton Oliver. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

When asked if in hindsight Oliver should have had surgery earlier, Goodwin said the intention had always been for the operation to take place during the bye period.

“It was pretty compact time for our fixturing, so it was always planned to do that,” he said.

“Clayton was aware and embraced … the situation and he wanted to go down that path. 

“The main thing is it’s been fixed and he’s ready to go.”

The Demons (4-2) will also welcome back Kysaiah Pickett from suspension, while the Tigers will regain Jacob Hopper and Dylan Grimes.


Richmond coach Adem Yze is well aware his charges will be up against it around the contest, especially after being smashed by West Coast’s midfield before their own bye.

“To have Hopper come back with his leadership, that just flows through our footy club,” he said.

“He had a terrific week on the track.

“We’ve worked on a lot of stoppage, we weren’t happy with the way that we performed around stoppage and clearance (against West Coast) – we got smashed in that area. 

“We’ve done a lot of work with our midfielders and so hopefully that comes out. But it is going to be a massive part of the game.”

There is plenty of shared history between Yze and Goodwin.

The Tigers mentor was Goodwin’s senior assistant coach, including taking charge of the Demons’ midfield for their breakthrough 2021 premiership, before stepping into the Richmond job.


“He would know us very well, and we know him very well,” Goodwin said.

“I don’t think there’s an advantage either way, other than to say we have enormous respect for Adem.”

Pre-game there hasn’t been any contact between the two, but Goodwin is anticipating meeting up after the match.

“I’m sure post-game we’ll catch up for a coffee or a quiet beer and debrief the game,” he said.

with AAP