AFL finds players ‘guilty until proven innocent’: Scott

Anna Harrington, Murray Wenzel and Shayne Hope |

GWS stars Jesse Hogan (l) and Toby Greene (r) will contest AFL suspensions at the tribunal.
GWS stars Jesse Hogan (l) and Toby Greene (r) will contest AFL suspensions at the tribunal.

Essendon coach Brad Scott says the AFL penalises high hits based on outcome rather than action, as Greater Western Sydney prepare to challenge the one-match rough conduct ban handed to captain Toby Greene.

The Giants will challenge one-match suspensions for Greene and Jesse Hogan (striking) at the AFL tribunal on Tuesday in a bid to free them to face the Brisbane Lions on Anzac Day.

GWS captain Greene, who has a long history of indiscretions, faces his first suspension in more than two years over his mid-air bump on Carlton defender Jordan Boyd.

GWS players Jesse Hogan (left) and Toby Greene.
GWS stars Jesse Hogan (l) and Toby Greene (r) will contest AFL suspensions at the tribunal. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

Greene led at the ball and jumped for a mark but turned his body just before a collision and made contact with the head of Boyd, who was going back with the flight of the ball.

Boyd got up immediately to take a free kick and played out the match.

Greene’s actions were graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

Coach Adam Kingsley dismissed the incident post-match.

“There won’t be anything in that,” Kingsley told reporters.

“He’s allowed to contest the ball, isn’t he? He’s allowed to launch at the ball?”

Essendon regain Peter Wright this week from his four-week ban for a mid-air bump – considered careless conduct, severe impact and high contact – that knocked out Sydney’s Harry Cunningham.

Toby Greene
Toby Greene hasn’t copped a ban in more than two years. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

Scott said his coaching staff would continue to seek clarity as to how players were meant to attack aerial contests.

“I couldn’t help but notice Adam Kingsley’s comment – you’re allowed to look at the ball and launch the ball and try and mark the ball, and Pete’s just nodding his head saying, ‘Yes, I agree with that’,” Scott said on Monday.

“Clearly the AFL … determine a penalty based on outcome, not on action. That’s abundantly clear now to everyone.”

“… (The media) can find so many examples where there are collisions with players with their eyes on the ball.

“But if one player gets concussed, the AFL holds someone liable for it in almost all cases now. 

“Then it’s basically put back to the club to challenge it if they disagree, and the system’s not set up for that. 

“You don’t go to the tribunal with an ‘innocent till proven guilty’, you go to the tribunal with ‘you’re guilty and you have to prove your innocence’.”

Hogan’s left-handed blow to Blues defender Lewis Young’s head during an off-the-ball scuffle in the goal square was graded intentional conduct, low impact and high contact.

The spearhead tops the Coleman Medal leaderboard with 21 goals from six games.

The hearings come a week after Lions forward Charlie Cameron escaped a one-match suspension due to “exceptional and compelling circumstances” owing to his clean record across 207 games.

West Coast will challenge the one-match rough conduct ban handed to key defender Tom Barrass.

Barrass was cited for a dangerous tackle on Fremantle’s Michael Walters, with the incident considered careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

AAP