Toby Greene suspension: AFL to appeal three-match ban for umpire contact

The AFL has reportedly opted to appeal the ban handed to Toby Greene for his bump on umpire Matt Stevic in GWS’ elimination final win over the Swans.

After a marathon Tribunal hearing on Tuesday, Greene was suspended for three matches over the incident.

A three-man panel found Greene guilty of making intentional contact with an umpire, ruling the contact was aggressive, demonstrative and disrespectful.

AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson QC proposed a suspension of no less than six weeks before the three-game ban was handed out.

Speaking following the decision, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said he found the length of punishment “perplexing.”

“I find it hard personally to reconcile how it can be intentional conduct that was aggressive, demonstrative and disrespectful – it was found to be all of those things – and then only be three weeks,” McLachlan said.

“As the CEO of the League, I’m saying to community leagues and others that I find the decision perplexing.

“I’ve spoken to the lawyers about our appeal rights clearly. They’re looking at that at the moment.” 

According to Fox Footy and the Herald Sun, the AFL now decided to appeal the sanction.

As part of the Tribunal process, clubs or the League can appeal decisions on the following grounds:

  • Error of law.
  • That the decision was so unreasonable that no Tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision having regard to the evidence before it.
  • Classification of offence manifestly excessive or inadequate.
  • Sanction imposed manifestly excessive or inadequate. 

The AFL has chosen to appeal three incidents in the past – in 2017 Bachar Houli’s two-match striking ban was upgraded to four on appeal, while the following year Ed and Charlie Curnow’s $1,000 fines for umpire contact were appealed by the League.

On that occasion, Ed was suspended for one match, while Charlie was cleared of any wrongdoing.

More to come.

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