Greater Western Sydney superstar Toby Greene won't play again in season 2021, after the AFL Tribunal found him guilty and slapped him with a three-game suspension for making unnecessary and intentional contact with an umpire.
Greene engaged in words with umpire Matt Stevic at three-quarter time of Saturday's epic elimination final against cross-town rival Sydney, before making shoulder-to-shoulder contact as he walked past.
After the game, Stevic sent an email to the AFL confirming he was aware of some "minor" contact, though said at the time he did not feel threatened by Greene's actions.
The Tribunal sat on Tuesday morning and opened with Greene pleading 'not guilty' to the charge of making intentional contact with Stevic. He admitted contact had been made but argued about the intention.
"I was aware I was very close to him," Greene explained. "There were some loud noises around me, and I was engaging in a discussion, so that's why I was extremely close [to Stevic].
"I was the one who caused the contact, but I didn't bump him and I was trying to avoid it at the same time. I do apologise for making contact. It's certainly something I wasn't trying to do. I agree it's not a great look for the game and I do apologise."
Stevic also weighed in, explaining how he saw the encounter unfold.
"As Toby got closer, he challenged me on a particular decision and said the player had 'f---ing dived'. I felt some minor contact," he said. "Seeing the vision post-game, it made it clear to me that I was stationary. I did not step into Toby or cause the contact."
After hearing arguments from both sides for close to three hours, the jury of Shane Wakelin, Stephen Jurica and Richard Loveridge deliberated for 44 minutes before handing down their 'guilty' verdict. They then deliberated again for another 30 minutes before delivering the penalty.
Giants footy boss Jason McCartney later confirmed the club would not appeal the tribunal's decision.
"As a club we maintain that umpires are sacrosanct and we understand the importance of the role they play in our game. They are to be respected at all times by everyone, across all levels of the game," he said.
"We know Toby also feels this way and is very remorseful for what we believe was an avoidable accident.
"We thank umpire Stevic for the context he provided today and will now look to put the matter behind us as we look forward to Friday night's game against Geelong."
Greene, who will miss Friday night's semifinal clash against Geelong as well as the following two games, which could carry over into 2022, also accepted the determination of the tribunal.
"I acknowledge contact was made with umpire Stevic as I walked to the three-quarter time huddle during Saturday's game and I regret this accidental contact occured," he said.
"I apologise again to Matt for this accident, as I did earlier today during the tribunal hearing. It was not my intention to make contact with Matt while we were engaged in discussion at the time.
"I have complete appreciation for the role umpires play in our game and understand how critically important it is that they are respected at all times."
It's the seventh time in Greene's career he has been handed a suspension.