AFL’s Eagles character assassins: Hardwick

West Coast have been labelled character assassins, as the fall-out continues from their AFL Tribunal defence of midfielder Luke Shuey.

Shuey had a suspension for striking North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas reduced from three to two games on Tuesday night, after the Eagles convinced the jury Thomas was struck to the body, not the groin.

In the process, Thomas was portrayed as a stager.

While Kangaroos coach Brad Scott on Thursday said that Thomas did not take that characterisation personally, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick weighed in on Thomas’ behalf.

“It’s not for the club to bring in character assassination, I didn’t like it,” Hardwick told reporters.

“I’m a little bit disappointed, to be honest.

“At the end of the day, if you do the crime, you get the time.

“To try to bring into question Lindsay Thomas, I didn’t like it and it’s not something our club would be a part of.”

But Scott’s view was that the tribunal tactic would have come from the Eagles’ defence advocate, David Grace QC, rather than within the club itself.

“The defence counsel use whatever tactics they can to get their players off,” Scott said.

“(West Coast coach) John Worsfold’s not the type of person to do those sorts of things and neither is Luke Shuey.”

But he defended Thomas and said he had shown in the boxing ring at training he was as tough as they come.

“He can take punches, he can throw punches, he’s a really resilient person and we’re just rapt with how he goes about his footy,” Scott said.

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