GWS star Toby Greene is free to play in Saturday’s sudden-death semi-final against Brisbane after escaping suspension at the AFL tribunal.
An “extremely apologetic” Greene has been been fined $7500 after pleading guilty to serious misconduct for an incident involving Western Bulldogs opponent Marcus Bontempelli.
The three-member jury on Monday night took 12 minutes to settle on Greene’s penalty after the AFL’s legal counsel, Jeff Gleeson QC, recommended a financial sanction was appropriate.
Greene, who had been referred directly to the tribunal, has been charged 17 times. He has racked up more than $25,000 in career fines and been suspended for six games.
The jury was shown footage of Greene grabbing at Bontempelli’s face and pulling his hair as they wrestled on the turf in the first quarter of Saturday’s elimination final at Giants Stadium.
Gleeson submitted that Greene’s conduct was unacceptable and unsportsmanlike, saying the Giant had pinned Bontempelli and “rammed” the Bulldog’s face with his forearm.
But he conceded the footage didn’t clearly indicate eye-gouging or scratching.
Greene briefly gave evidence, saying he had reacted excessively to what he labelled a dangerous tackle on teammate Brett Deledio.
Umpires paid a free kick against Bontempelli for the tackle.
“Looking back on the incident, I understand I overstepped the mark in my remonstration and I understand it’s not a great look,” Greene said.
“I apologise to Marcus if there’s any harm done.
“I thought it was a dangerous tackle and that’s why I responded.”
Greene’s advocate, former AFL football operations boss Adrian Anderson, said there had been “all sorts of wild and inaccurate reporting” about injuries suffered by Bontempelli which the Giants believed had been sustained elsewhere.
The AFL’s legal counsel suggested a “significant” fine of between $5000 and $7500 was appropriate.
“Obviously, there were nervous times there and I’m really apologetic for what I did,” Greene told reporters after the hearing.
“I can’t wait to get out there on Saturday.”
GWS board member and former match review panel member Jimmy Bartel had expressed confidence earlier on Monday that Greene would avoid suspension.
Losing Greene would have been a major setback for GWS, after he starred in the 58-point win over the Dogs.
The incident is the latest in a string of heated exchanges in the increasingly fierce rivalry between the clubs.
Greene has been booed by Dogs fans since levelling a karate kick at then-Bulldog Luke Dahlhaus’ face and receiving a two-match ban in 2017 for striking Caleb Daniel.
© AAP 2019