The AFL will appeal the three-match ban handed to GWS star Toby Greene for intentional umpire contact, believing the sanction to be "manifestly inadequate".
The decision comes after urgings from AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, who initially welcomed the tribunal's verdict that Greene brushing shoulders with experienced whistle-blower Matt Stevic constituted intentional conduct.
But the league boss said he found the length of the suspension "personally hard to reconcile" with the fact a jury of former players found Greene guilty of an "aggressive, demonstrative and disrespectful" interaction with Stevic.
During a four-hour tribunal hearing on Tuesday, AFL lawyer Jeff Gleeson QC called for a minimum six-match ban.
The appeal hearing has been deferred to the end of the 2021 finals series at the Giants' request, with Greene already sidelined for the rest of the season.
In a statement on Wednesday, AFL football operations manager Andrew Dillon said: "Respect for umpires and the safety of umpires in our game is what our sport is built on and must be protected.
"As the keeper of the code, the AFL has a responsibility to act in the interests of all in the sport."
Greene is with GWS in Perth ahead of Friday night's semi-final against Geelong and will remain with the travelling party for the rest of their campaign.
Giants captain Stephen Coniglio said the 27-year-old star will be an ideal sounding board for inexperienced teammates.
"He's disappointed in himself and disappointed he can't play, but even this morning his energy is back up," Coniglio said.
"Toby has shown remorse. You simply can't do that in our game, we hold the umpires in such high regard and treat them with a lot of respect."
Coniglio is yet to discuss the matter in depth with Greene, whose inability to manage white-line fever has cost the club again.
"Our sole purpose in the next two days is to prepare for this Geelong game," Coniglio said.
"When the time is right (we'll talk about it). If he needs anything then my phone is always on, if he wants to come and have a chat he can."
Meanwhile, AFL Players' Association president Patrick Dangerfield on Wednesday conceded players can "definitely improve" their on-field treatment of umpires.
"It's a fine line," Geelong star Dangerfield told SEN radio.
"I'm as guilty as anyone around the off-hand comment, but they're such an important part of our game.
"We have to be better with how we treat them."
Dangerfield disagreed with the AFL and McLachlan's assessment that Greene's three-match ban is not severe enough.
"You can say it's lenient, but at this time of year you can argue it's quite significant," Dangerfield said.
"We have to be mindful and I'll keep coming back to this that we have a role to play in the community.
"It's difficult sometimes, under the heat."
Australian Associated Press
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