Alan Jones takes aim: ex-Pie at centre of Toby Greene storm
GWS boss Dave Matthews says he has lost faith in the tribunal system after Toby Greene's failed appeal.
On Thursday night the Giants ruled out launching court action to overturn the polarising matchwinner's one-match suspension.
Greene, 25, will miss Saturday's preliminary final against Collingwood, with the AFL Appeals Board taking just 12 minutes to dismiss the Giants' case.
"I'm bitterly disappointed," Greene said as he left AFL House.
"We thought we had a strong case. I'm looking forward to Saturday and supporting my teammates."
On Friday morning, GWS boss Dave Matthews said he had "little confidence in the system" and took a dig at the role of ex-Magpie Michael Christian in Greene's ban.
Christian laid the charge against Greene in his role as the AFL's match review officer.
"Michael Christian played in a premiership for Collingwood, and it feels like we've been playing Collingwood all week," Matthews said on Macquarie Radio.
"But in the end, you need to respect the people who the AFL appoint - it's their call and I'm not casting any aspersions on the way they make a judgment, but it's a conclusion that a lot of fans draw.
"There was probably actually not a shred of evidence that supported the charge and in the end, the vision was inconclusive. The evidence of Lachie Neale seem to get set aside and Toby's version of evidence wasn't something they wanted to give credit to either."
GWS board member and Geelong premiership hero Jimmy Bartel said the Giants star was a victim of "the Toby Greene factor".
"I know I'm biased, and I'll declare my conflict here, but of course I'm upset by the result. We put together two fantastic cases and we had multiple sources and I think that's the bit where we're scratching our head a bit," Bartel said.
"Not once but twice Lachie Neale's testimonial evidence was discredited and this is probably at worst a bloke who is going to be on the podium for the Brownlow on Monday night for the best-and-fairest player.
"Chris Fagan's evidence, thrown out the door. Brisbane Lions doctor's evidence, thrown out the door and the footage of Lachie Neale rubbing his nose thrown out the door.
"It just felt like the result was predetermined all week and that's what we've got to deal with."
Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones even entered the debate, comparing the AFL to bushrangers.
"I understand the tribunal included two ex-Collingwood players. As one wag said to me this morning the only difference between these people and Ned Kelly is Ned Kelly had a horse," he said on 2GB.
Former Magpie Lachie Keeffe - who served a two-year drug suspension before joining GWS - will replace Greene at the MCG.
Greene was suspended for making "unreasonable or unnecessary contact to the eye region" of Brisbane Lion Lachie Neale, after appearing to rake over his opponent's face on the wing.
An emotionless Greene sat flanked by player manager Paul Connors and GWS chief executive Dave Matthews for the two-hour hearing, which was his third in 11 days.
Connors said Greene had been victimised because of his reputation.
"If this was any other player this would not have even got through the MRO," Connors said on Sportsday.
"If this was a Collingwood player there would be uproar.
"In over 20 years of management I've never seen a worse decision. You can have your opinions on Toby, but on the facts this is a disgrace."
It was Greene's third hearing in 11 days.
Matthews said: "As disappointed as we are, we won't do anything further".
"We've put forward two very good arguments twice this week," Matthews said.
"We obviously felt the evidence was all in Toby's favour. We're stunned as a lot of people would be by the decision tonight.
"In the end that's where we'll leave it. We've got Saturday to focus on and we'll now move on."
The Giants threw open the chequebook for the appeal, with Ross Gillies QC joining Adrian Anderson, and the club hopeful the extra legal muscle would help Greene.
Gillies QC argued for 63 minutes that both match review officer Michael Christian and Tuesday night's tribunal had failed Greene, attacking the AFL's judiciary system.
"This was patently a hopeless prosecution against an innocent player," Gillies said.
The Giants argued that the footage "exonerated" Greene.
They also referenced field umpire "Razor" Ray Chamberlain, who penalised Neale for holding the ball despite having a "clear and almost completely uninterrupted view" of the scuffle.
"He's a very experienced and sharp-eyed umpire who's not got a reputation for holding back with the whistle and dealing with people who break the laws of the game," Gillies said.
Greene appeared to crane his neck to check where the umpires were before the act. But Gillies QC argued that Greene saw where Chamberlain was and appealed for a free kick.
With Greene aware Chamberlain was "intently gazing", Gillies said: "You'd have to be mad to do something intently illegal".
The AFL dismissed Neale's evidence at Tuesday's tribunal hearing as "vague", but GWS argued that Neale must be treated as an "honest and reliable witness".
GWS also cited Lions coach Chris Fagan's radio interview earlier this week when Fagan said Neale had told him he felt contact to the nose.
The Giants argued that "evidence is not only all one way, there's great corroboration from Greene, Dr Andrew Smith (Lions), Fagan and Neale himself".
The Giants showed footage of Neale later checking his nose for blood, instead of rubbing his eyes.
Greene's omission shapes as a monumental blow for the Giants, who are already without Lachie Whitfield (appendicitis), Stephen Coniglio (knee) and Callan Ward (knee).
Greene - who sported slick cuff-links with an initial on each hand - was restricted to just nine disposals against the Magpies in last year's finals series.
Brayden Maynard blanketed Greene in that semi-final but with Greene absent the stopper will be free to clamp down on another dangerous GWS forward.