GWS star Green defends controversial free against Hawks

Roger Vaughan |

GWS midfielder Tom Green (pictured) has defended his decision to tackle Hawthorn’s James Sicily.
GWS midfielder Tom Green (pictured) has defended his decision to tackle Hawthorn’s James Sicily.

Greater Western Sydney star Tom Green knows he won’t be objective over the controversial free kick that ended up deciding his side’s AFL loss to Hawthorn.

But the Giants midfielder says he had no choice but to put pressure on James Sicily as the Hawks captain had a long-range snap late in Saturday’s Launceston clash.

Green made contact with Sicily a fraction late, with the kick going out on the full.

Luke Breust was paid the free kick downfield and his goal gave Hawthorn a six-point win.

“I have watched it back. I don’t know if my opinion is the most objective, so I’m not sure it’s worth anything, and I understand umpiring is a hard gig – tough decisions have to be made,” Green said on Tuesday.

James Sicily of Hawthorn.
A downfield free kick awarded after a tackle on James Sicily helped the Hawks pip the Giants. (Linda Higginson/AAP PHOTOS)

“In my opinion, I made a legitimate play, putting pressure on James Sicily.

“If he wheels around there under no pressure, he’s going to kick a goal.”

Giants teammate Callan Ward was on the bench when the free was paid against Green and said his reaction was “no way”, adding the call was “pretty frustrating”.

“That’s the way footy goes sometimes. When you bump a guy like that, especially in a pressure moment … he probably didn’t have to bump him, that’s the risk you take,” Ward said.

The loss means GWS have lost four of their last five games, with coach Adam Kingsley acknowledging the Giants are in a mid-season lull.

Commentator and Giants board member Jimmy Bartel was scathing after the Launceston loss, saying the side are not learning from their mistakes and are lacking attention to detail.

“I don’t think it was a step back, but we’re certainly not progressing like we were at the start of the year and the way that we’d like,” Green said of the Hawthorn loss.

“We’re still learning a lot of stuff – last year we finished the year really, really well and so there are a lot of expectations.

“It’s definitely fair commentary from Jimmy … he wouldn’t be alone in thinking that.

“I suppose it’s a good challenge, when someone like that, within your club as well, is challenging you in that way.”

The Giants host Port Adelaide on Sunday, with the both teams badly needing a win.

Green is looking forward to midfield match-ups against Zak Butters, Jason Horne-Francis and probably Connor Rozee, who is set to return from injury.

Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Jason Horne-Francis.
Port Adelaide’s midfield features (from left) Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Jason Horne-Francis. (Michael Errey/AAP PHOTOS)

“You don’t want to get too wrapped up in seeing exactly what they’re doing and taking away from your own game,” he said.

“But you have to have an understanding of what they’re doing, because they’re such great players.

“If you go in under-prepared, they can really make you pay. There is a balance.”

Green is managing an ankle injury he suffered a month ago, but stressed it was not affecting him too much.

“It’s taken some ongoing management, but it’s OK. It hasn’t given me too much trouble,” he said.

The 23-year-old is also acutely aware that opponents are trying to curb his influence, crediting Giants midfield coach Ben Hart with helping him deal with the added attention..

“It is something that this year I’ve faced a whole lot more,” he said.

“In that way, it is a compliment. Opposing teams understand that I can contribute to us winning the game – it’s stuff you have to face and deal with.

“I feel I’ve gotten better at dealing with it.”

AAP