Toby Greene leaves the AFL Tribunal Hearing at AFL House.
Toby Greene leaves the AFL Tribunal Hearing at AFL House.

Giants believe they have watertight case

GWS has muscled up its legal team to argue the AFL's suspension of Toby Greene for Saturday's preliminary final is "manifestly unjust."

The Giants are still deciding whether Greene will fly to Melbourne for the second time in a week to personally front the tribunal, as they prepare to go in all guns blazing with a new heavyweight QC joining the club's lawyer, Adrian Anderson, to plead the case.

If GWS was to fail in its appeal there remains the possibility the Giants could try to seek an emergency court injunction to allow Greene to face Collingwood. But the club doesn't believe that unlikely avenue will need to be considered, confident they have a watertight case to say their most influential player did not deliberately make contact with the eye region of Brisbane's Lachie Neale.

 

 

Footy greats have widely condemned the tribunal's decision to ban Greene, adamant he is being judged on his poor record and questionable escape from suspension the previous week rather than this specific incident with Neale, as per the AFL system which doesn't take prior offences into account.

But overturning convictions has proven notoriously difficult, with only two of 16 players ever being successful in overturning a guilty verdict.

Giants chief executive Dave Matthews and football boss Wayne Campbell were in Melbourne on Wednesday for the funeral of Danny Frawley, and GWS is still finalising its plan. If it's deemed Greene does not need to be at the hearing, he may stay in Sydney with the team.

The Giants' silks must essentially prove to a new panel of jurors that a profound injustice has taken place. Outspoken GWS board member Jimmy Bartel has left no doubt about the strength of the club's convictions as it fights to free the most maligned figure in the game.

"The appeal is on which you can appeal as (the process and decision) being manifestly unjust," said Bartel on Macquarie Sports Radio.

"Whatever you think about what Toby Greene has done in the weeks before with Marcus Bontempelli or his previous 17 other charges, think all that you want.

"Our system says that doesn't matter, you've got to put the headphones on and just look at that case.

"The evidence is inconclusive from the footage so the evidence was Lachie Neale (giving evidence), and Lachie Neale said he didn't get contact in the eyes, so how can you then say the evidence was vague."

 

Toby Greene leaves the AFL tribunal hearing on Tuesday.
Toby Greene leaves the AFL tribunal hearing on Tuesday.

 

GWS coach Leon Cameron refused to comment on Wednesday on accusations from outside the club that the presence of former Collingwood player Shane Wakelin on Tuesday's original tribunal panel was a conflict of interest.

However, the club is miffed about how the ban was upheld particularly following strong evidence from Lions star Neale to say the contact from Greene was to his nose, not his eye as was alleged by the AFL match review officer.

"I thought the evidence we presented was fantastic. I thought the case was spot on. Everything Toby spoke about, everything everyone spoke about Toby was absolutely spot on and that's why we woke up this morning and we're disappointed," Cameron said.

"But we're also realistic about it as well and we're confident when we go to the appeals that we'll present the same case and we'll see where that leads us."

Young indigenous star Bobby Hill is likely to be on standby for Greene should he be suspended.

Cameron admitted Greene wasn't perfect with his on-field behaviour and would look at improvements, but reiterated the Giants' belief that the 25-year-old is unfairly scrutinised.

The coach is adamant the saga won't derail the Giants' preparations for their third preliminary final on a day when their other irreplaceable star Lachie Whitfield was sensationally ruled out with appendicitis.

 

Stream every match of the 2019 Toyota AFL Finals Series before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand on KAYO SPORTS. Get your 14 day free trial and start streaming instantly >