Toby Greene yesterday was suspended 3 games for a light brush of contact with an umpire during his GWS sides 74-73 Elimination finals win over cross-town rivals the Swans. The 3-game ban ends Toby’s season prematurely and thus ending the Giants season also, as he is the heart and soul of the team and without him, they’ll surely fall to the mighty Geelong Cats on Friday night.
He came under scrutiny after lightly brushing his shoulder against umpire Matt Stevic as the teams went to their huddled for the 3-quarter time break. The contact was as minor as it comes but still the rest of the AFL world lost their minds. The tribunal dubbing the contact as “Aggressive, Demonstrative and Disrespectful”.
If you’ve seen the footage and I have, you would look at it and hear those words and just wonder to yourself, is this how soft the toughest game on the planet has become? You’ll also notice that Matt Stevic didn’t really care about the contact and politely had a chat with him after the event about whatever Toby was going on about pre contact.
The decision taken by the AFL Match review committee was Slammed by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan revealing at his weekly press conference that the AFL is considering appealing the ban stating that the Punishment does not fit the crime……or something like that.
Now I know Toby Greene is no teacher’s pet, a history of disciplinary action totalling 22 charges 6 bans and fines totalling $30k. But for me, this makes me like him even more. He’s a throwback to the likes of Barry Hall, Brendan Fevola, Jason Akermanis, although he was more of a pest than a badass and even AFL legend Dermott Brereton all who had lengthy suspensions and would have had a similar level in fines had fines been more prevalent. The AFL has been screaming out for a player with an edge like Toby, we’re flooded with players with no personality in their interviews or in the way they play. As a Cats fan I love that the likes of Tom Stewart, Mark Blicavs and a few other boys are starting to break out from the mould of stiff professional first brought in to the league by Hawthorn, and Toby adds a whole new element to that by pushing the rules to the very edge all in the name of winning.
No fan base can stand there with a straight face and say they wouldn’t want him in their team. Yes, he may miss a few games a year for disciplinary reasons, I would look at it as he’s being rested or managed as my Cats seem to do more and more each season. Anyone who doesn’t want him in their team and any team who wouldn’t be lining up the money if he ever becomes a free agent is trying and doesn’t want to win. He is a class player, one of the best in the league. I’m glad the higher ups at the AFL can see that and I hope they do appeal his ban. And even though highly unlikely he’ll get off completely, I’d love for him to be lining up against my Caters on Friday, so that when we win, at least we bear a full-strength Giants outfit, not a severely weekend one for his absence.
I will not sit here and admonish him for his on field behavior, the league needs it, the fans want it, Let the boys play.