'Not savage enough': AFL great's call to crackdown on 'faking'

·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
Geelong's Tom Hawkins escaped sanction from the AFL, despite him having 'exaggerated contact' in a manner that might otherwise have earned a fine. Picture: Fox Footy
Geelong's Tom Hawkins escaped sanction from the AFL, despite him having 'exaggerated contact' in a manner that might otherwise have earned a fine. Picture: Fox Footy

The AFL must become more harsh when dealing with instances of players staging for free kicks, after Geelong forward Tom Hawkins got away with a dive many considered worthy of a fine.

Hawkins won a free kick for a push in the back during the Easter Monday clash against Hawthorn, but lunged forward almost horizontally to embellish the contact.

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Ironically, Hawkins' lunge lead to a 50m penalty being paid against the Hawks, as players protested the whistle to the umpire, who wasn't having any of it.

On Tuesday evening it was revealed the Match Review Officer had taken a look at the incident to deem whether or not it was worth of a fine.

Hawkins had 'exaggerated the contact' according to the MRO, but not enough to warrant the fine - leaving former North Melbourne forward David King in disbelief.

"It was the view of the MRO that Hawkins exaggerated the contact but that his actions did not constitute a reportable offence. No further action was taken,” an AFL statement read, however King was certainly not happy about it when he appeared on SEN with Gerard Whateley.

He argued fines for staging should escalate if they lead to a score, fearing the integrity of the game could eventually be compromised.

“I’ve had enough – I’ve had enough of players staging, faking, diving, whatever you want to call it,” King said on Tuesday morning.

“We’re not savage enough, are we? I think the $1000 fine is merely a starting point.

"I think it should be elevated if the free kick that you’ve clearly acted for and conned the umpire becomes a goal.

“It’s $1000 for staging, but if that results in a goal, it goes from $1000 to $2500 and if you want to keep doing it, you’ll keep racking up these bills.

“We’re having teams kick 12 to 13 goals a game – if two or three of them involve staging, it’s a fairly significant percentage of our scoreboard.”

Fans were also less than impressed with Hawkins' efforts on Monday, with many taking to social media to voice their disapproval.

Tom Hawkins laughs off AFL staging incident

One player has already been fined for staging this season, reigning Coleman medallist Harry McKay, over an incident against the Gold Coast.

For Hawkins' part, he acknowledged after the game that some fans might not like the play, but added that those kinds of umpire calls can often go either way, predicting what goes around will come around.

“I think it was clear to see. I was outnumbered around the footy. I jumped and obviously Frost is strong himself and it got me at a poor time,” Hawkins told Channel 7.

Tom Hawkins has acknowledged that fans might not be happy about his bid to draw a free kick against Hawthorn on Monday. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Tom Hawkins has acknowledged that fans might not be happy about his bid to draw a free kick against Hawthorn on Monday. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“I know it’s going to be really controversial.

“These decisions are really hard for an umpire to make split-second. I’ve been on the end of two that have been quite favourable but I’m sure, swings and roundabouts, it’ll come back the other way.

“It was a great spectacle of football today. I don’t think we should take it back to decisions that were made in a split-second. It’s really hard for the umpires.”

Hawthorn's Dylan Moore kicked four goals while Luke Breust produced a crucial late cameo, with the lead changing four times in the second half before the Hawks won 14.8 (92) to 11.14 (80) at the MCG.

Breust's snapped goal in the final few minutes gave Hawthorn breathing space.

The veteran forward then got front and centre of a marking contest in the centre square before finding an unguarded Mitch Lewis out the back to kick the sealer.

The upset improved the Hawks' record to 3-2, level with highly-fancied Geelong, and a spot in the top eight.

With AAP

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