GWS star Toby Greene is free to play in the Giants’ final-round crunch match against Carlton, but not this week against Richmond, after downgrading his two-match ban to one game for striking Patrick Dangerfield.
However, the Giants will consider an appeal to further downgrade the penalty to a fine so Greene can play the Tigers.
The match review officer suspended Greene for two matches for the incident, deeming it careless conduct, high impact and high contact. Greene got the impact of the incident moved down from “high” to “medium” but did not successfully argue the incident was not careless.
At the AFL tribunal on Tuesday night, the jury of Stewart Loewe, Shane Wakelin and Richard Loveridge – chaired by Ross Howie – made the judgement.
Greene pleaded not guilty to the charge, arguing that his action was “not careless”. His legal counsel, former AFL footy operations boss Adrian Anderson, also said it should have been medium impact and not high because Dangerfield was able to play this week.
Dangerfield’s medical report found that the Cats midfielder had a “laryngeal bruise” but not a fracture of his larynx. He is OK to keep training and is not expected to miss any games, the Cats said. Dangerfield did not play on in Friday’s match after the incident, receiving treatment in hospital overnight.
“A reasonable player would not regard it as prudent to adopt the technique that Toby Greene adopted here … this was high contact that happened because of an inherently dangerous technique. Not because of some so-called ‘football incident’ … or reflex action,” AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson said.
“It was pretty quickly apparent Greene would get there first [and that he knew a Geelong player was coming to tackle him].”
Gleeson said tackling technique training usually dictates a tackler would “go low”, like Dangerfield did, and so that Greene should have known his elbow could have hit higher than his opponent’s chest on the neck, chin or head.
“It [Greene’s conduct] is inherently dangerous, it caused an injury, it could have caused a worse injury.”