The AFL’s appeals board handed down its verdict on Thursday, more than a month after Toby Greene created controversy with his “ump bump”.
GWS Giants star Toby Greene will miss the first five weeks of the 2022 season after the AFL successfully appealed the initial three-match suspension handed down for his “ump bump” and another three games were added to his ban.
Greene caused controversy during the Giants’ elimination final win over Sydney when he appeared to bump into umpire Matt Stevic during a stoppage in play.
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The AFL takes a dim view of players making contact with match officials, whether intentional or not, but despite finding the contact to be “aggressive, disrespectful and demonstrative”, the AFL tribunal suspended Greene for only three matches.
The AFL announced its intentions to appeal the suspension on the grounds that it was “manifestly inadequate” and asked that Greene miss “no less than six weeks” in total.
The league agreed to delay the hearing until after the finals series and on Thursday, the GWS small forward faced the appeals board.
“The look is terrible, if anything Greene leans in,” AFL legal counsel Jeff Gleeson QC said at the hearing.
“Three weeks is not enough.
“The message that needs to be communicated to Mr Greene and all players and participants and viewers and umpires and prospective umpires is you simply do not aggressively touch an umpire.
“To anyway diminish the gravity of the act by reference to the contact being minor misunderstands the need for the sanction for this sort of conduct.”
Greene’s counsel Ben Ihle QC countered: “Contact occurred while seeking to demonstrate he was displeased with the call, he was challenging the decision.
“When one looks at those reasons they are at least state of mind of recklessness.”
At roughly 2pm (AEDT), the appeals board, comprising David Jones, Ross Howie, Geoff Giudice AO, Murray Kellam QC, Wayne Henwood, Stephen Jurica and Richard Loveridge chose to extend the length of Greene’s suspension.
The 28-year-old has already served the first game of his ban, having missed the Giants’ semi-final loss to Geelong. He will serve the remainder in the opening weeks of the 2022 season.