TOBY Greene will miss the first five matches of the 2022 season after the AFL Appeals Board increased the Greater Western Sydney superstar's suspension to six games for making intentional contact with an umpire.
Greene originally received a three-match ban after he was found guilty of intentional contact with umpire Matt Stevic during the Giants' one-point elimination final win over Sydney in late August. He served the first of those matches in GWS' semi-final loss to Geelong a week later.
>> WATCH THE INCIDENT BELOW
However, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan expressed his personal dissatisfaction with the length of the suspension shortly after it was handed down, and the AFL duly launched an appeal, which was heard on Thursday morning.
Jeff Gleeson QC, for the AFL, successfully argued for a minimum of six matches for Greene's collision with Stevic, which he described as an "act of contempt" during the hearing.
Shortly after the verdict was handed down, the Giants said they would not launch any further appeals.
"We accept the suspension and consider the matter finalised," football manager Jason McCartney said.
In delivering the Appeals Board's verdict, chairman Murray Kellam said the sanction needed to be a "strong deterrent" to not only AFL players, but Australian football players all around the country that contact with umpires is not on.
"Intentional contact with umpires will not be tolerated," Kellam said.
"Umpies at all levels have to know they can carry out their vital function with confidence. Respect for umpires is at the heart of the game. The image of the game must be protected.
"This is a message that goes further than AFL players … a message to the Australian football community as a whole. A strong message has to be sent.
"The community must know that umpires will be treated with respect."
The AFL, through its representative Jeff Gleeson QC, argued Greene's three-match ban was "manifestly inadequate", which the board ultimately agreed with.
"The look is terrible," Gleeson said, in arguing for a suspension of no less than six weeks.
Greene's defence Ben Ihle QC described the initial three-week sanction as "very, very significant".
Ihle conceded Greene was aggressive and demonstrative in his actions, but said trying to determine the mindset of the superstar Giant – to identify if the act was intentional – was a subjective view.
Kellam flatly refuted this, saying after the board watched the replay numerous times, and heard Greene's evidence at the initial hearing, the jury was right in deeming it intentional contact.
Ihle reminded the hearing that with his evidence given at the initial case, umpire Matt Stevic described the contact was light and that he didn't find the language or challenge inappropriate or disrespectful.