As stunned as Greater Western Sydney is that Toby Greene’s contentious one-match ban wasn’t overturned on appeal, the Giants have ruled out taking the AFL to court.
Greene won’t play in Saturday’s preliminary final against Collingwood at the MCG after the AFL appeals board upheld the penalty at a hearing at AFL House on Thursday night.
“I’m bitterly disappointed,” Greene said as he left the hearing.
“We thought we had a strong case (but) I’m looking forward to Saturday and supporting my teammates.”
Greene was replaced by Lachie Keeffe in the line-up shortly after the decision was announced.
The ban for making unreasonable or unnecessary contact to the eye region of Brisbane’s Lachie Neale was upheld at the tribunal on Tuesday, despite favourable testimony from the Lions’ star.
The Giants added Ross Gillies QC to their legal team after that setback but fared no better at the appeals board hearing, with the jury of Murray Kellam QC, Stephen Jurica and Richard Loveridge taking 15 minutes to rule against them.
“As disappointed as we are we won’t do anything further,” GWS chief executive Dave Matthews said.
“We’ve put forward two very good arguments twice this week.
“We obviously felt that the evidence was all in Toby’s favour and we’re probably stunned, as a lot of people would be, by this decision.
“But in the end that’s where we’ll leave it.
“We’ve got Saturday to focus on and well move on.”
The Giants appealed on the grounds that the decision was so unreasonable that no tribunal acting reasonably on the evidence could come to it, that the classification of the offence was manifestly excessive, and that the jury was wrong to be clearly satisfied that Greene made unnecessary contact to the eye region.
Gillies’ opening submission took up just over an hour of the one hour and 45 minute hearing.
He argued that Tuesday night’s jury of David Neitz, Shane Wakelin and Paul Williams erred in their assessment of the intent, impact and contact made by Greene.
Match review officer Michael Christian also came under fire for his classification of the incident and laying the charge.
“On the evidence, I don’t know what the match review officer was doing,” Gillies said.
“I don’t know what the jury was doing … this is patently a hopeless prosecution against an innocent player.”
But Nick Pane QC for the AFL made his counter-submissions for 30 minutes and convinced the jury the original decision to uphold Greene’s ban was the correct one.
Greene has now been suspended for seven career games and racked up more than $26,000 in fines.