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Greene brain fade sours Giants’ win over Swans in finals thriller

“I’m just so proud of this footy club,” Longmire said. “Right the way [through] we’ve been able to face the challenges head on all through this season. We did it again tonight, we were five goals down, and kept coming and coming, and gave ourselves what we thought was every chance to win.”

It hardly seems fair their season should end in such a manner, having been on the road for more than two months, much of that time away from their families due to Sydney’s COVID-19 crisis – but sport can be brutal.

The same could also have been said for the Giants, who have won all three of their finals against their cross-town rival. They push on to a semi-final against Geelong in Perth but may have to beat the Cats without talismanic forward Greene, who faces a nervous wait to learn if he will be sanctioned for making contact with umpire Matt Stevic moments after the three-quarter-time siren.

An animated Greene, who was in his second game back from suspension, appeared to remonstrate with Stevic leading into the incident.

According to AFL guidelines, should Greene’s contact be judged “aggressive, forceful, demonstrative or disrespectful” it will be deemed intentional, and he will be directly referred to the tribunal.

“He shouldn’t have been doing it, that will definitely be looked at, he just shouldn’t do it,” Geelong great Cameron Ling said on Channel Seven.

Toby Greene and the umpire “bump” during the elimination final.

Toby Greene and the umpire “bump” during the elimination final.

Greene commented on the incident after the game. “I don’t know what it was,” he told Channel Seven. “It was just in the moment and certainly I would never [intentionally] touch him. I was just talking to him about something in the game, but yeah.”

Giants coach Leon Cameron defended the star forward, who appeared frustrated in the third term having faded out of the game after starring with three goals in the first half.

“Very hard for me to comment on it. Clearly it’s a talking point. All I know is it wouldn’t have been intentional,” Cameron said.

Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale escaped with a $1500 fine earlier this year for touching an umpire, but Geelong forward Tom Hawkins was banned for one game in 2018.

After an engrossing opening in which Franklin and Greene had key interventions, the Giants flexed their muscles in the second term at the contest against a Swans midfield feeling the absence of Josh Kennedy and Callum Mills.

Though the territory battle was being won by Sydney, the Giants’ forays forward were more incisive, slamming five goals on the bounce plus another after the half-time siren.

Using guile more than power, Greene was a handful at ground level, losing his man in traffic for each of his three goals in the first half. Dane Rampe was his nominal opponent but was at fault only once.

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Needing a lift around the ball, the Swans found it in the third term through Luke Parker and George Hewett, the latter nullifying the influence of Tim Taranto, who had been important in the clinches.

Moving Franklin higher up the ground dulled his impact but made the Swans less predictable entering their forward 50. Playing as the deep forward, Isaac Heeney was the beneficiary, kicking two vital goals to keep his team in the hunt.

At the other end, Jesse Hogan was a colossus with his vice-like hands, hauling in six contested grabs, and though he drained a pressure kick after the siren, his two posters left the door ajar for the Swans.

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