GWS flag hopes rest on Greene AFL appeal

GWS player Toby Greene will go to the AFL appeals board in a bid to play against Collingwood.
GWS player Toby Greene will go to the AFL appeals board in a bid to play against Collingwood.

GWS will beef up their legal team as they roll the dice in one final attempt to have talismanic forward Toby Greene available for Saturday's AFL preliminary final against Collingwood.

The Giants will front the AFL appeals board on Thursday evening, two days after Greene failed to overturn his one-match ban for making unreasonable or unnecessary contact to the eye region of Brisbane's Lachie Neale.

GWS will back up Adrian Anderson, Greene's advocate on Tuesday, almost certainly with a QC.

Giants CEO David Matthews and football manager Wayne Campbell will be among the team supporting Greene in Melbourne.

If Greene attends the appeal on Thursday and is successful he would remain in Melbourne and be joined by the rest of his team on Friday.

Tuesday night's shock tribunal verdict came despite favourable testimony from Neale, who said he couldn't recall feeling any contact to his eyes.

"I thought all the evidence we presented was fantastic. I thought the case was spot on," Giants' coach Leon Cameron said.

"That's why when we woke up this morning we were disappointed.

"But we're also realistic about it as well an-d we're confident when we go to the appeals we'll present the same case and we'll see where that leads to."

With no new evidence likely to be presented, GWS will need to show the original judgement was manifestly unjust.

Greene's enormous importance to the Giants was emphasised during the semi-final victory at the Gabba, where he gathered 30 disposals and booted two goals.

The GWS firebrand had been at risk of missing that game but escaped with a $7500 fine for misconduct against Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli - a charge that also centred on Greene making contact with an opponent's face.

While Greene's growing rap sheet is a concern for the Giants, not having him available to face the Pies would be an even bigger worry.

GWS have only managed three wins from 18 games at the MCG and are yet to win a final at the iconic venue.

The Giants wasted little time deciding to appeal but the odds are stacked against them given only two of 16 players have successfully challenged tribunal verdicts - the most recent being Melbourne midfielder Jack Viney in 2014.

Cameron wasn't prepared to comment on whether there was a possible conflict of interest for tribunal member and former Collingwood player Shane Wakelin, who was spotted in the Magpies' rooms after their qualifying-final victory.

"If I start commenting on tribunal matters or appeal matters, I might as well shift out of coaching," Cameron said.

More recent appeals have come from the AFL rather than clubs.

Richmond's Bachar Houli notably had a two-week striking ban doubled by the appeals board in 2017 after the AFL mounted an unprecedented challenge against his initial sanction.

The AFL also went to the appeals board last season to seek harsher penalties against Carlton brothers Charlie and Ed Curnow for making contact with umpires.

Ed Curnow's charge was upgraded from careless to intentional contact and his penalty changed from a fine to a suspension.

Australian Associated Press