KANE Cornes is absolutely right.
The unjust media-led assassination of Toby Greene for a legitimate attempt at a spoil is a stain on our fair game.
His two game suspension is a travesty, a sham, a mockery of everything we hold dear and absolutely everyone in sports media should be ashamed – from Tony Jones to Les Murray, Cris Collinsworth to Murray Walker. You are all to blame.
So in a fury of indignation at the injustice of it all, here’s a list of the 5 times the tribunal has stitched-up other innocent Aussie Rules players for doing nothing more than playing fair.
PHIL CARMAN – The “headbutt”
IT’S one thing to suspend a player for 20 matches for aggressively headbutting an umpire.
It’s another thing to suspend an innocent footballer who has battled CNJS (compulsive neck jerk syndrome) since childhood.
Carman, who made his name as a high-flying forward and kicked 142 goals in 66 games for Collingwood, was diagnosed with CNJS as an 8-year-old growing up in Edenhope. Initially told he’d never be a league footballer, Carman stunned doctors with his rapid rise to the big time.
In the end, the entire “headbutt” incident could have been avoided if someone had told the overzealous umpire to not get within Carman’s CNJSR (compulsive neck jerk syndrome radius).
The heavy-handed suspension impacted Carman so much that when he returned, he was suspended again in his very first match – a kind of protest to the injustice of it all.
BARRY HALL – The “left hook”
IN law there’s such a thing as self defence.
Brent Staker’s needless groping of the amicable and disciplined Sydney spearhead Barry Hall was directly responsible for the actions that eventually took place.
While Staker would come out worse for wear in the physical stakes, the mental anguish that Hall went through was more than enough punishment.
The tribunal, however, didn’t see it that way and rubbed Hall out for six weeks.
Where’s the justice?
LEIGH MATTHEWS – The “king hit”
THE man known as “Lethal” wasn’t hugged much as a child, so when he went to give Geelong opponent Neville Bruns a warm embrace for a game well-played in 1985, he did so with naive gusto.
The one-armed hug – a favourite among manly men who play footy – went wrong, slipping high and unfortunately breaking Bruns’ jaw in the process.
Seeing that Leigh’s intentions were in fact innocent, Cats legend Steve Hocking went to give Matthews a friendly and conciliatory kiss, but in a comedy of errors that would lead to a mass brawl and mass confusion, Hocking accidentally broke Lethal’s nose.
The VFL tribunal, confused by the show of affection given their heartless nature, would deregister Matthews for four games in a heavy-handed to response to an innocent mistake.
ALASTAIR CLARKSON – The “Battle of Britain”
IT’S a little known fact that VFL exhibition games in the 1980s were as scripted as a pro-wrestling bout.
Before this 1987 clash between North Melbourne and Carlton at The Oval in London, both sides came together to discuss how the “show” would play out to give bored British sports fans value for money.
Carlton defender Ian Aitken was paired with 19-year-old Kangaroos rookie Alastair Clarkson, and the two came up with a plan to get involved a good ol’ “Donnybrook”. Starting with Clarkson giving Aitken a love tap on the side on the head, the “brawl” would eventually lead to a light and friendly wrestle on the grass to the delight of the spectators.
Unfortunately for both players, teenager Clarkson didn’t know his own strength given he is a teeny tiny man with teeny tiny arms and hands, and his love tap would go on to break Aitken’s jaw.
Despite the VFL knowing the entire game was staged, the tribunal handed Clarkson a four match suspension, allegedly to continue the illusion that the game was fair dinkum.
Disgraceful and unjust.
MATTHEW SCARLETT – “The Ballantyne biff”
MATTHEW Scarlett punched serial pest Hayden Ballantyne in the face and got suspended for three weeks.
What a joke.