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AFL veterans call for rule change after Toby Greene kicking incident

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As Toby Greene awaits his fate from the match review panel, former stars have urged the AFL to change the rules amid confusion over what constitutes “unreasonable” contact with an opposition player.

The Greater Western Sydney forward will learn on Monday if he has been handed a third suspension this season, after being reported for his ‘foot-to-the-face’ of the Western Bulldogs’ Luke Dahlhaus on Friday night.

Greene report overshadows dominant GWS win

A report on Toby Greene for rough conduct has overshadowed an impressive 48-point GWS win over the Western bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, just the eighth win for the Giants in Melbourne.

Opinion is divided over the incident, with former Western Bulldogs star Luke Darcy believing he should be banned while former premiership stars Matthew Lloyd and Kane Cornes say he should escape suspension. The Giants believe Greene, who was booked for rough conduct, should not be sanctioned as he had his eyes on the ball.

Greene’s bad record will count against him if the match review panel grades the impact of his contact as medium instead of low. Given Dahlhaus was forced off the field with the blood rule it may be hard for the MRP to give a low grading though he was able to finish the game. Greene’s hit on the Bulldogs’ Caleb Daniel, who needed treatment for a split lip in round six, was graded medium.

A finding of careless, medium impact to the head would see Greene given a two-match ban due to his record.

AFL laws do not explicitly prohibit what Greene did but forbids rough conduct, “which in the circumstances is unreasonable”.

Lloyd said Greene’s action, though made to protect himself, was “very dangerous”, but did not believe it warranted a suspension.

“It’s something we rarely see in the game, that’s why it’s so unusual,” Lloyd said on the Sunday Footy Show.

“I think there’s a fine there, some may say it’s worth a week. Even if he gets off a rule should come in. It should change the rules forever that you can never protect yourself like that ever again.”

Cornes said there was “no way” the AFL could rub out Greene.

“This has been happening for years. They may bring in a rule after this like they have with the sling tackle or jumper punch,” Cornes said. “The AFL has made no statement on this.

“There’s no way they can suspend him for that. He’s trying to protect himself. If they change the rules now then we’re all clear.”

Former Geelong great Bill Brownless said the AFL would be worried of the message sent out to junior ranks if Greene was exonerated.

“I reckon it’s a bad look, and if kids are going to see that and he gets off we’re going to see kids do it,” Brownless said.

Giants veteran Steve Johnson said Greene’s latest controversy was different to his other indiscretions this year as it was not an issue of bad discipline.

“The ones where it’s in play and he’s playing on instinct, it’s not necessarily him doing the wrong thing,” Johnson said on AFL Game Day. “It’s very hard to coach someone out of playing on instinct.”

Meanwhile, Etihad Stadium officials have urged fans to help identify the fan who threw a beer in Greene’s direction as he left the field after the match.

Footage showed Giants assistant coach Alan McConnell and ruckman Dawson Simpson both reacting angrily after the drink was thrown.

The AFL and the venue have launched an investigation but TV and security footage do not identify the perpetrator.

“There are concerns about this unwelcome behaviour. It’s behaviour that should not be tolerated.” an Etihad Stadium spokesman said.

“Anyone who can provide additional information, we or the AFL would like to hear more.”

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