Toby Greene faces almost certain suspension before facing court in September. Photo: Getty Images
Greater Western Sydney’s Toby Greene was charged with a series of drunken assault offences on Monday night, just days after a senior Blacktown policeman lectured the young Giants on the pitfalls of alcohol and substance abuse before the club’s four-day break.
Greene faces almost certain suspension before facing court in September, after what proved to be a nightmare Tuesday for the AFL’s youngest club.
Giants officials spent some hours attempting to track down the 20-year-old, who had flown home to Melbourne for the Giants’ bye and finished up in a violent incident at Zagame’s – a nightclub and function centre – in Caulfield that led to him and a teenaged friend arrested. It is understood a bottle was used in the alleged assault.
Complicating matters was the fact that the club’s two most senior football executives – Dave Matthews and Graeme Allan – were out of the country.
The AFL’s integrity boss, Brett Clothier, is understood to have contacted Allan to communicate that Greene had been charged with intentionally causing serious injury, recklessly causing injury, affray, assault in company, assault by kicking, assault with a weapon, unlawful assault, making threats to inflict serious injury, drunk in a public place and criminal damage.
Once contacted, Greene is understood to have told the Giants that he had been uncontactable because his phone had broken. He was staying with his mother for the four-day break.
Greene’s manager, Paul Connors, has hired barrister Bernie Balmer to prepare Greene’s defence as the club awaits further evidence via CCTV vision linked to the nightclub. Greene was granted bail and will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on his 21st birthday – September 25.
The Giants said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that they were ‘‘taking the matter very seriously’’ but would make no further comment.
The club was disappointed that the incident had occurred so soon after last week’s information session led by Blacktown police superintendent Mark Wright.
The Zagame Corporation said on Tuesday in a statement: ‘‘An incident occurred at our Caulfield venue on [May 12] and is currently being investigated by Victoria Police. Our focus is now on the well-being of our staff and assisting police with their investigation. As such, we are not in a position to make any further comment,’’ chief executive Jackie Booth said.
The incident followed a dismal five weeks for Greater Western Sydney on the field, culminating in Sunday night’s humiliation against West Coast, which led to Fairfax Media columnist Matthew Lloyd describe the fledgling club’s effort as ‘‘pitiful’’ at times.
Greene was chosen at No.11 in the 2011 draft, and finished second in the club’s best and fairest award in his debut season, averaging more disposals a game than any other 18-year-old in AFL history.
After struggling through his second season, he has played in seven of the first eight rounds in 2014.