Just days after one of their most memorable victories in their decade-long history, the GWS Giants have suffered a monumental blow heading into Friday’s must-win Semi Final against Geelong in Perth.
Following a marathon Tribunal hearing on Tuesday, Giants star Toby Greene will miss the remainder of the season after being found guilty of intentional contact with an umpire.
The incident occurred at three-quarter time of the Giants’ thrilling one-point win over the Sydney Swans in Launceston on Saturday afternoon.
“I acknowledge contact was made with umpire [Matt] Stevic as I walked to the three-quarter time huddle during Saturday’s game and I regret this accidental contact occurred,” Greene said following the hearing on Tuesday.
“I apologise again to Matt for this accident, as I did earlier today during the Tribunal hearing. It was not my intention to make contact with Matt while we were engaged in discussion at the time.”
Most experts believe the Giants can’t win the flag without Greene on the field.
“I accept the determination of the Tribunal and will now look to support my teammates in any way I can ahead of this week’s game,” said 27-year-old Greene.
Giants General Manager of Football, Jason McCartney, confirmed the club would not appeal the Tribunal’s sanction, opting to move on from the outcome.
“As a club we maintain that umpires are sacrosanct and we understand the importance of the role they play in our game. They are to be respected at all times by everyone, across all levels of the game,” he said.
“We know Toby also feels this way and is very remorseful for what we believe was an avoidable accident.”
Before last weekend’s incident, Greene was enjoying a career-best year for GWS – playing 18 games and booting 45 goals along with 41 behinds. His suspension is a huge blow to the Giants’ chances of progressing past Friday’s crucial clash, with Geelong listed as short-priced favourites with the bookmakers to get the job done this evening.
The match gets underway at 7.50pm Friday at Optus Stadium.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.