FORMER Match Review Panel member Nathan Burke has condemned Greater Western Sydney star Toby Greene’s second “studs-up” incident in as many seasons, but believes he will again escape suspension.
Burke, who was last year part of the decision to fine Greene $1500 for making contact with the face of Western Bulldog Luke Dahlhaus with his boot, also expects the AFL to consider adding a new classifiable offence to cover such incidents, rather than coming under the catch-all banner of misconduct.
Greene’s best-afield 27-touch, three-goal return in the Giants’ big elimination final win over Sydney at the SCG on Saturday was marred by controversy, with his aerial-ball technique again sparking consternation.
In the dying stages of the game, as he stood his ground in a marking contest, Greene thrust out his right boot, parallel to the ground, and made contact with the midriff Swan Nic Newman. Greene marked on his chest and wasn’t penalised by the umpire.
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Any suspension would rule him out of the Giants’ cut-throat semi-final against Collingwood at the MCG on Sunday, in what would potentially be a devastating double-blow for his club, which is likely to lose gun midfielder Josh Kelly with a leg problem.
Match Review Officer Michael Christian will announce his ruling on Monday.
Burke took a dim view of Greene’s latest action but expects him to receive a fine only.
“(Last year) basically we said, ‘You shouldn't be able to do that, we don't want kids doing that, we don't want other players doing that,’ so we made a sanction. So there is precedence there,” Burke told ABC radio on Sunday.
“The difference in this one is that you get a bit more licence when you're going for a mark.
“Three of them where he was leaping as high as he can off the ground, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, (but) the last one, where he’s got one foot planted (and) sticks the other foot out directly into the stomach of the oncoming Sydney player, I don't like that.
“I dare say the AFL and Michael Christian won't like that one, so I’m expecting another misconduct fine.”
Burke was adamant Greene’s approach to the marking contest with Newman was “not on”.
“You don't want kids receiving the ball (and thinking), ‘There’s somebody coming at me (so) I’m just going to stick my foot up,’” he said.
“In soccer you'd be straight off the ground (because you had) studs up.
“If I‘m Leon Cameron I’m saying, ‘Toby, don't do that again.’
“We’ve been taking speccies in this game for 140 years without flinging your feet out everywhere, so just stop it.”
In his post-match press conference, Cameron supported his player.
"You've got to be able to protect yourself when people are coming back into your space on the mark,” Cameron said.