Kangas coach hits out at divers
NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott claims some players "went down like they had been hit by a Mack truck" in round one tried to cash in on the AFL's recent crackdown on punching.
The AFL this week sent a memo to clubs, reminding them that players risk giving away free kicks for prohibited contact off the ball.
But Scott on Thursday said he saw some players last weekend "go down like falling leaves", exaggerating slight contact in an effort to win a free kick.
"I have spoken to all our players, not only this week, but across the board," Scott said.
"There has got to be a fine balance, because what you find is that there is always a reaction.
"I thought across round one a number of players went down like they had been hit by a Mack truck when there was very minimal contact.
"It puts the umpires in a really difficult position where they had been told to pay free kicks for any strikes off the ball, but there are a number of players go down like falling leaves.
"Our end of the bargain is simple, don't punch anyone."
While Scott didn't name any specific players, Brisbane defender Darcy Gardiner received some criticism for the way he hit the ground when tangling with Eagle Liam Ryan.
Gardiner accepted a $1000 misconduct fine for provoking Ryan, prodding him with a knee while the Eagle had been on the ground. Ryan then retaliated with a jumper punch that cost him $1500.
Scott's comments did come, however, after his midfielder Ben Cunnington was fined $2000 for his 'gut punch' on Fremantle's Nathan Wilson.
Cunnington's punch was graded as low impact, thanks to a favourable Dockers medical report and Wilson staying on the field.
But Scott predicted some punches' impact could soon be upgraded to medium, which would result in a one-week suspension.
"Ben Cunnington got a fine … he doesn't think he got off," Scott said.
"Our players are on notice that we will find that those incidents will now start to be graded as medium, and that will result in a week. We haven't been told that, but that's the way the world works."
Scott admitted he pondered making sweeping changes to the side beaten by 82 points by Fremantle.
But, above all, Scott said he wants to see a response from his team in Round 2 against Brisbane - irrespective of whether he sticks or twists at the AFL selection table.
"It was really frustrating because it hasn't been the North Melbourne identity of over the last couple of years. This club has a pretty good history of (bouncing back)," Scott said.
- with AAP