North Melbourne’s fiery AFL loss to Hawthorn also has a controversial aftermath, with coach Brad Scott making an extraordinary accusation about the umpires.
The AFL is certain to investigate Scott’s claim that umpires admitted to not paying high free kicks to North forward Lindsay Thomas because he is a ducker.
Asked after the game if he thought Thomas was unfairly treated by the umpires, Scott replied: “I know he is, because the umpires told our players ‘well he’s a ducker, so we don’t pay high free kicks to Lindsay’.
“They told our guys that.
“That’s clearly a pre-conceived idea.
“You just want the umpires to umpire what they see, not their pre-conceived ideas.”
Scott said it was up to umpires director Hayden Kennedy to deal with the matter.
“I’m just telling you what happened because they won’t tell you, that’s for sure,” Scott added.
Thomas kicked three goals in the loss and was involved in several contentious free kick decisions.
He gave away a 50m penalty when penalised for a high bump on Josh Gibson that looked legal.
It also appeared Thomas missed out on a couple of a free kicks for high contact.
Scott said the free against Thomas for the Gibson bump was simply a wrong decision.
“We’re not going to sit here and cry and moan about mistakes – mistakes happen,” he said.
“But pre-conceived ideas and going into a game with a pre-conceived idea about a player, I don’t think is right.”
North paid for their inaccuracy – they kicked 11.18 and had six more scoring shots than Hawthorn.
Scott was proud of North’s effort and aggression but lamented an opportunity lost.
“It’s a really disappointing night for us because I think generally you get what you deserve in (the) AFL.
“It feels pretty close to not quite getting what we deserved.
“When you win, you win for a reason (and) when you lose, you lose for a reason.
“I thought we did a lot of things right to generate the win – but we didn’t get it.”
Scott was particularly pleased North took it up to Hawthorn with their physical aggression.
Jack Ziebell’s first-quarter bump on Hawthorn opponent Sam Mitchell is among several incident certain to attract match review panel scrutiny.
“We need to take a step forward in that aggression and that physicality,” Scott said.
“The start to the game was really good.
“We have to get a little bit better at some of the free kicks off the ball.
“But the aggression and intent was terrific.”
North lost four players to injury for Friday night’s game, led by captain Andrew Swallow.
Defender Luke McDonald also hurt his hamstring against Hawthorn and Daniel Wells came back on after suffering an ankle injury.