Matthews said that the incident, which appeared to show Greene make contact with Neale’s face, wasn’t “serious at all” and that Christian was out of form at the wrong time of the year.
The GWS chief insisted it wasn’t proven that Greene made contact with Neale’s face. Neale told the tribunal that he couldn’t recall any contact made to his eyes, although he admitted his nose was “a little bit sore” after the altercation.
Bartel said the suspension had “a bit of Toby Greene factor” about it.
“I’m stunned and disappointed to be honest … of course I’m upset with the result,” Bartel told Macquarie Sports Radio on Friday.
“I thought we put together two fantastic cases, we had multiple sources of evidence and I think that’s the bit where we’re scratching our heads a little bit.
“We’re a little bit disappointed in the fact that not once but twice Lachie Neale’s testimony or evidence was discredited and this is probably a bloke who’s at worst going to be on the podium for the Brownlow on Monday night for the best-and-fairest player.
“His evidence they washed their hands of it, [Brisbane Lions coach] Chris Fagan’s evidence [was] thrown out the door, Brisbane Lions doctor thrown out the door, the footage of Lachie Neale rubbing his nose thrown out the door.
“You have three very well-respected people … it just felt like it was pre-determined all week the result and that’s what we have to deal with. I think it’s a bit of Toby Greene factor, I think we all take that into account.”
Matthews also went on SEN on Friday and told them: “It seems to me that the only issues with [Neale’s] eye region are the people who laid the charge in the first place.
“If you consider the facts of the case and put aside the emotion that seems to surround Toby Greene, and others in the competition from time to time, the facts of the case didn’t support the charge.
“It’s a very, very disappointing outcome and I can’t be any clearer on this – the system has failed Toby Greene this week.
“You’ve got an umpire with a clear view who pays a free kick for holding the ball, you’ve got a player who says his intention is to go in and work to make sure the ball stays under Lachie Neale’s head, and you’ve got Lachie Neale who says that essentially there was no damage done to the eye region.”
Matthews said Greene’s long rap sheet should have had nothing to do with this case and that he was entitled to have his circumstances fairly assessed in isolation.
“This whole week I’ve watched the media put up his rap sheet, most of which are parking fines – engaging in melees and whatever else,” he said.
“The obligation of this system is to treat every case on its merits. So you look at what happened on the weekend and you charge the player unrelated to what the player’s name is or what his record is. You’ve got to look at the incident on its merits and consider the facts.”
Greene had a close shave last week when he avoided a suspension for serious misconduct against Bulldogs midfielder Marcus Bontempelli, instead copping a $7500 fine.
Matthews asserted that if Greene received a one-match suspension this week because of his reputation, then it’s a “flawed” process.
“If you’re saying that’s what’s occurred, then that’s wrong, isn’t it. Then the system needs a review,” he said on SEN.
“If you’ve got somebody who thinks, ‘Oh, I might’ve mucked something up last week so I’ll make another mistake this week’, if that’s the way the system is going to operate, then the system needs to be changed.
“If we’re considering something that [umpire] Ray Chamberlain saw as holding the ball based on Toby Greene’s record, then that’s flawed.
“How one week links to the other, if that’s what you’re saying has occurred, that’s actually wrong.
“The system is supposed to mean that they’re unrelated … you’re trying to have some confidence in the system and understand outcomes and $7500 last week, I think Bontempelli got $2500 for fracturing [Nick] Haynes’ throat.
“You try to line some of these things up, on the evidence last night, and as it was Tuesday night, there just really wasn’t a shred of evidence to support the charge and that’s the most disappointing thing about this week.”
Matthews will “definitely” have a conversation with AFL chief Gillon McLachlan about the game’s judicial system.
“There’d be a number of clubs who’d be disillusioned with some of the outcomes,” he told Macquarie Sports Radio.
“It’s a difficult process but the competition deserves better and I’m sure Gill would have some concerns.”
Matthews revealed that a lot of the club’s coterie supporters encouraged them to take the case further after the appeal was dismissed but they decided against it so as not to create a distraction for the team on the eve of such an important game.
The Giants chief said the events of a “difficult week” had “further galvanised” the players.
McLachlan, in his weekly spot on 3AW, did not want to comment on whether Greene should have been banned, but disagreed with the vociferous comments from Greene’s manager Paul Connors on Thursday night.
“You [Neil Mitchell] think he should’ve got more, the [Giants] CEO thinks he should’ve got off. That’s football,” McLachlan said.
“I think it’s clearly wrong [what Connors said]. Paul was clearly emotional.”
Ronny Lerner is a Sports reporter for The Age.