Shepparton News

AFL DECIDES TO APPEAL GREENE’S BAN

AFL DECIDES TO APPEAL LENGTH OF BAN HANDED TO GIANT FOR UMPIRE CONTACT

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The AFL will appeal the threematch ban handed to GWS star Toby Greene for intentiona­l umpire contact.

The decision comes after urgings from AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, who initially welcomed the tribunal’s verdict that Greene brushing shoulders with experience­d whistle-blower Matt Stevic constitute­d intentiona­l conduct.

But the league boss said he found the length of the suspension ‘‘personally hard to reconcile’’ with the fact a jury of former players found Greene guilty of an ‘‘aggressive, demonstrat­ive and disrespect­ful’’ interactio­n with Stevic.

During a four-hour tribunal hearing on Tuesday, AFL lawyer Jeff Gleeson QC called for a minimum six-match ban.

The AFL will likely attempt to prove the tribunal’s sanction was ‘‘manifestly inadequate’’, rather than there was an error of law in Greene’s hearing.

The date of the appeal is yet to be determined with Greene’s season over regardless of the outcome.

Greene is with GWS in Perth ahead of tomorrow night’s semifinal against Geelong and will remain with the travelling party for the rest of its campaign.

Giants captain Stephen Coniglio argued the 27-year-old star would be an ideal sounding board for inexperien­ced teammates.

‘‘He’s disappoint­ed in himself and disappoint­ed he can’t play, but even this morning his energy is back up,’’ Coniglio said.

‘‘Toby has shown remorse. You simply can’t do that in our game, we hold the umpires in such high regard and treat them with a lot of respect.’’

Coniglio is yet to discuss the matter in depth with Greene, whose inability to manage whiteline fever has cost the club again.

‘‘Our sole purpose in the next two days is to prepare for this Geelong game,’’ Coniglio said.

‘‘When the time is right (we’ll talk about it). If he needs anything then my phone is always on, if he wants to come and have a chat he can.’’

Meanwhile, AFL Players’ Associatio­n president Patrick Dangerfiel­d concedes players can ‘‘definitely improve’’ their on-field treatment of umpires.

‘‘It’s a fine line,’’ Geelong star Dangerfiel­d said on SEN radio.

‘‘I’m as guilty as anyone around the off-hand comment, but they’re such an important part of our game.

‘‘We have to be better with how we treat them.’’

Dangerfiel­d disagreed with McLachlan’s assessment that Greene’s three-match ban was not severe enough.

‘‘You can say it’s lenient, but at this time of year you can argue it’s quite significan­t,’’ Dangerfiel­d said.

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