Greater Western Sydney midfielder Toby Greene has apologised to his teammates and acknowledged he did the wrong thing after the club fined and suspended him for five matches for breaching their code of conduct.
Greene, 20, will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on September 25 after being charged with several assault-based offences following an incident at a Melbourne nightspot on Monday night.
GWS stressed they were not pre-judging anything that might happen regarding those charges, and some media outlets have reported Greene may appeal the severity of the club-imposed suspension.
Giants CEO David Matthews said the punishments had been handed down because Greene had breached club protocols by drinking alcohol after sustaining an injury and failing to properly notify the club after he was charged by police.
The $5000 fine was the maximum allowed by the AFL under the circumstances, but the club stressed sacking Greene wasn’t discussed.
The Giants board endorsed the recommendations of coach Leon Cameron and the leadership group of Callan Ward, Phil Davis, Stephen Gilham, Heath Shaw, Tom Scully and Shane Mumford to suspend Greene for five games and dock him $5000.
“Toby has put his hand up, he knows he’s stuffed up,” Ward said on Friday.
“We’ve got some strong protocols and strong rules here.
“He drank when he shouldn’t have when he was injured, he didn’t contact the club after he was in trouble.
“He’s put his hand up and he’s apologised to the group, he’s extremely upset.”
Outgoing AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou backed the strong stance taken by the Giants.
“He’ll have to face the charges and he’s innocent until proven guilty, but from an AFL and club perspective it was unacceptable and he has apologised,” Demetriou said on Fairfax Radio.
“We welcome the decision from the perspective that it sends a very clear message.”
Cameron said it had been a tough few days for Greene, but backed him to rebound and said the punishments delivered a strong message about the culture GWS wanted to develop.
“To confront his fellow players and the coaches this morning it was tough for him to stand up and apologise and you could see there was genuine remorse, ” Cameron said.
“We have a huge responsibility to help him through that and knowing the kid, he’ll push through these next five weeks and come out bigger and better ”
Carlton defender Simon White is also being investigated by police after a fan accused him of punching him in the mouth, with both incident occurring during their bye round break.
Demetriou warned players to behave during the bye or risk losing the break altogether.