Sport AFL Lindsay, we have to talk about diving

Lindsay, we have to talk about diving

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North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas looked like he had spent the week watching the Commonwealth Games on TV, particularly the diving events.

The small forward appeared to be held by Geelong’s James Kelly during a marking contest in the third quarter of Saturday night’s AFL round-19 game at Eithad Stadium.

Thomas proceeded to soar through the air, making a determined bid to bring the incident to the umpire’s attention.

North’s coach Brad Scott says Thomas, who’s on track to win the club’s goalkicking award for the third time, has been told before about staging for free kicks and needs to take that tactic out of his game.

Thomas kicked a team-high three goals in North’s 16.15 (111) to 10.19 (79) loss on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium, bringing his personal tally to 37 after scoring 53 in 2013.

“I wasn’t happy with that. Whether it was a free kick or not, just play the ball, mark the ball,” Scott said.

“If you get infringed the umpire will pay it. We’ve worked on that and he’s improved over the last three, four, five years in that stuff.

“I’ve said to Lindsay, ‘If you keep doing that the umpires will assume you’re doing it all of the time even when it is a free kick’.

“So I’ll speak to him about that again.”

Thomas’ reputation for acting was raised during an AFL tribunal hearing in 2012 when West Coast’s Luke Shuey accused the North goalsneak of staging for free kicks.

“I would hate to see Lindsay not getting free kicks when he’s genuinely infringed because there’s a perception that he plays for it,” Scott said.

“So we don’t condone it and he’s got to stop doing it.”

Top-eight contenders the Kangaroos’ second consecutive defeat puts them on a 10-8 record with an away clash against Greater Western Sydney to come next Saturday.

Three off-the-ball free kicks paid against North in the second term, which all resulted in goals to Geelong, helped the Cats set up the game with a six-goal quarter as North trailed by 28 points at halftime.

“We had the 15 minutes of madness there,” Scott said.

North’s Brent Harvey was penalised for a push to the chest which was deemed too forceful.

“I found it really hard with the vision that I had in the box to identify whether players needed to be disciplined for it,” Scott said of the second-quarter incidents.