Shepparton News

Coates says Greene deserves suspension

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The umpire at the centre of the AFL’s most notorious playeroffi­cial dispute has weighed in on GWS star Toby Greene’s looming tribunal case.

Retired whistleblo­wer Andrew Coates, who was pushed by Carlton star Greg Williams in 1997, believes Greene deserves a suspension for making contact with umpire Matt Stevic during the Giants’ thrilling eliminatio­n final win over Sydney on Saturday.

Greene is in danger of missing Friday night’s sudden-death showdown against Geelong and may not be available again until next season.

The league will soon confirm details for the small forward’s tribunal hearing.

It would ordinarily be held tonight, but may be pushed back to tomorrow, with the Giants journeying from the north coast of Tasmania to Perth today.

Match review officer Michael Christian charged the All-Australian on Sunday with ‘‘intentiona­l umpire contact’’.

Coates acknowledg­es there are difference­s between Williams’ case, which earned the dual Brownlow medallist a staggering nine-week suspension, and Greene’s conduct.

But the 283-game AFL umpire says players have to show greater respect to officials.

Like Stevic, Coates did not report Williams during the heat of battle.

‘‘A little bit of surprise really to be honest, the way players conduct themselves these days, the game is completely different to near on 25 years ago,’’ Coates told SEN of his initial reaction to Greene’s.

‘‘I thought that sort of thing would have been gone from the game.

‘‘I didn’t feel unduly threatened (by Williams), but touching an umpire goes to the very fabric of the values of the game and if it’s not dealt with then the game falls apart.

‘‘I think a suspension is obviously needed (for Greene) in the circumstan­ce.’’

AFL rules state ‘‘contact with an umpire that is aggressive, forceful, demonstrat­ive or disrespect­ful will be deemed intentiona­l and the player will be directly referred to the tribunal’’.

Greene’s fate at the tribunal will in part hinge on evidence provided by the experience­d Stevic around the nature of his interactio­n with the Giants dynamo.

Greene has a long tribunal record that includes a $1950 fine eight years ago for reckless umpire contact.

He also missed GWS’ preliminar­y final win over Collingwoo­d in 2019 for making contact with Brisbane star Lachie Neale’s eye region.

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