In an age where the match review officer decides most AFL penalties and clubs generally accept them, this week sees a return to the once all-too-familiar blockbuster tribunal hearing.
Greater Western Sydney star Toby Greene and Geelong’s Tom Hawkins were involved in controversial incidents on the weekend, both copping a one-week ban that will need to be overturned by the tribunal.
Greene was suspended for one game after being charged with making unnecessary or unreasonable contact to the eye region of Brisbane midfielder Lachie Neale.
Greene was referred directly to the tribunal on a serious misconduct charge a week ago after he made contact with the face of Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli in their semi-final.
He pleaded guilty and was fined $7500.
The Cats will also try to get Hawkins off after he was charged with striking and handed a one-match ban.
His case is set to be heard on Monday night.
The Giants play Collingwood in a twilight preliminary final on Saturday at the MCG, the day after the Cats and Richmond clash for the other grand final berth.
Cotchin says don’t mention 2018
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin says the club’s upset exit in last year’s AFL preliminary final will not be a factor in trying to topple the Cats.
The 39-point loss to Collingwood in 2018 brought an end to the Tigers attempt at back-to-back flags but Cotchin said that wasn’t “relevant” this week, instead emphasising focus on “little moments” within Friday’s game.
“You have to be at your best for the majority of the game to give yourself an opportunity, but you need to focus on the little moments,” Cotchin told reporters on Sunday.
“They’re the ones that you want to control going into a clash against a great team.”
Cotchin said he couldn’t remember his initial reaction to last year’s loss.
“There’s obviously a little bit of disappointment and frustration,” Cotchin said.
“But the reality is I think as a football club and team, we’ve just celebrated the journey for a long period of time now.
“And that’s what we get our enjoyment from – all the little moments, the nuances that make football and being part of a special organisation is what we love about it.
“We won’t be dictated to by a result or an outcome. We just want to make sure we give our best in each moment.”
Giants have winning form against Magpies
Greater Western Sydney has now made three preliminary finals in four years and go into its game against Collingwood knowing they can beat the Pies.
In their only clash this year the Giants smacked the Magpies by 47 points in Round 18 in Sydney.
Their last finals loss to the Pies was by 10 points in an MCG 2018 semi-final.
“It’s a completely different side and we’re a much more mature group, a much wiser group,” GWS midfielder Matt de Boer said.
A few changes to the game plan since then as well, so we go down with that much confidence.’’
GWS has welcomed back players from injury in recent weeks, knocking off the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions in a Gabba thriller to give themselves a shot at making a maiden grand final.
“There’s a significant belief in the group that we don’t hold any fear anywhere and we’ve got effort and stars across every line,” de Boer said.
While GWS has a three-15 overall record at the MCG, de Boer said the ground held no fears for the Giants.
“We might train this week and make the ground a little wider, but we’re confident we can go anywhere,” de Boer said.
Coach Leon Cameron rated gun midfielder Stephen Coniglio, who has been out of action and required surgery since he hurt his knee in the Round 17 loss to Richmond, is an outside chance to return in Saturday’s game.
“If there’s any doubt we will not be taking him into any game,” Cameron said.