GWS Giants believe their issue with umpires runs far deeper than Toby Greene, with extraordinary stats showing they have been punished by the AFL for five years running. See the incredible numbers.
Toby Greene is just one part of a ‘please explain’ GWS are seeking from the AFL over why the club is systematically coming out on the bad side of umpires.
AFL greats are adamant Greene is being prejudged by officials because of his bad boy reputation, with the superstar forward yet to be paid a free kick in 2020, despite having six blown against him.
And while GWS will ask the AFL for clarification on Greene’s bewildering treatment against Collingwood, for them, the real issue is the overall hammering they feel they’ve copped from umpires for the past five years’ running.
Damning statistics from Champion Data show that the Giants have either been ranked last or second last in the AFL for free-kick differential dating back to 2016.
GWS aren’t kicking and screaming, particularly not after a win, but privately they don’t believe they can be that unlucky over such a sustained period of time.
News Corp understands GWS sought clarification from the AFL over umpiring decisions following the loss to North Melbourne a fortnight ago, and will again be sending specific clips to officials this week in a bid to better understand why they’re being penalised for incidents where their opposition is not.
GWS are happy to be told that players could be better with technique in certain instances, but are hoping to get some concessions back from the AFL that umpires could also improve. They want to work with the umpires not against them.
GWS have the worst free-kick record so far this year – even more stunning given there have been no crowds – and were dead last in 2019 with an extraordinary differential of minus 102. Between 2016-18, the club was ranked 17th out of the 18 clubs.
Against Collingwood last week Greene was tackled high at one point and failed to get a free kick for it, only for the Giants to be penalised for an almost identical incident later in the match.
Is Toby Greene unfairly treated by the umpires?
St Kilda great and Fox Footy expert Leigh Montagna is adamant Greene is being inadvertently victimised.
“He doesn’t (get a fair run). I’m glad people made comment on that over the weekend because I was watching the footy on Friday night and thought the exact same thing as everyone else,” said Montagna.
“I don’t think it’s deliberate, but umpires are human and maybe subconsciously there’s something in it.
“It just does seem like he gets a harsh run from the umpires.”
Greene might be 0-6 for free kicks this season, but in 2019 he had 24 for and 29 against and between 2012-18 he had 173 for and 177 against – a much more even equation.
Western Bulldogs great and fellow Fox Footy commentator Brad Johnson defended the umpires.
“I’m not sure whether umpires go, ‘Toby Greene’s going for that one, I’m not going to pay a free kick,’” he said.
“That’s not the way it works or the way the umpires operate.
“I’d say he’s judged contest to contest that he’s involved in. It’s not about who he is as an individual. He’s just been a bit unlucky.”
Meanwhile, GWS had some shock injury news on Monday with Phil Davis considered a chance to take on Hawthorn this week despite suffering a hamstring issue against Collingwood.
Zac Williams on the other hand, who the Giants originally thought might be able to back-up, is now expected to miss up to four weeks, also with a hamstring problem.
It’s understood Davis’ issue is more with back spasms rather than anything with the hamstring itself.