Richmond’s Dylan Grimes has called out online trolls after revealing the sickening abuse and death threats he’s received around the AFL staging controversy.
Grimes has been targeted in a series of vile messages on social media after a controversial incident in his the Tigers’ victory over Essendon on Saturday night.
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Grimes was accused by some of staging for a free kick which proved a game-turning moment during the Dreamtime clash when the Tigers scored a 12-point win over Essendon in Darwin.
Dylan Grimes making a late tilt at the 2021 Australian Olympic Diving Squad pic.twitter.com/ZXPoCNfZto
— Rohanct (@RohanCT) August 22, 2020
Staging has been a topic of outrage for many AFL fans in 2020, with Grimes revealing some of the shocking abuse he’s copped over Saturday night’s incident.
Grimes posted an Instagram story that included some of the offensive posts directed at him.
“I apologise in advance for the swearing but this is ridiculous,” he posted in an Instagram story.
“Death threats and suicide suggestions. Come on.
“Reminding the Essendon fans that inboxed me that this is a game we play for fun.”
Dylan Grimes has given a worrying insight into the sickening abuse players cop post game - posting a video of his Instagram DMs overnight. It’s just awful. Good on him for calling it out. 💔 @Richmond_FC 🐯 pic.twitter.com/F8YQy3hjzN
— Jacqueline Felgate (@Jacquifelgate) August 23, 2020
Grimes was referring to a series of messages from rival fans, who were incensed by his apparent play-acting on the field.
“Hey mate. Any chance you were gonna compete in the 2020 Olympics for diving this year? one fan wrote.
“Just curios (sic) cause ya seem f***en good at it. If that doesn’t work out ya might wanna go and apply at a talent agency cause f*** me your (sic) good at acting.”
Another user branded Grimes the “biggest flop in the AFL” and told him to “grow a f***ing set of nuts”.
Grimes was awarded a controversial free kick for a push in the back in the second quarter of Saturday night's game.
The penalty came as Essendon's Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti took a run into an open goal - his major would have put the Bombers 11 points up.
"The reason players continue to do it, is because they're continually rewarded with free kicks."@kanecornes believes the umpires are the ones who can stamp out staging. #9AFLSFS | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/hkMVONlNP1
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) August 23, 2020
Anger mounts over staging debate
Instead, the score wasn't allowed and Richmond proceeded to boot two goals in the next three minutes to take the lead, which they kept for the rest of the game.
"Massive impact," Essendon coach John Worsfold said post-match of the controversial decision..
"Unfortunately that is the way the umpires called it and we have to cop that. But it was a pretty critical part of the game."
Matthew Lloyd told Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show that he expects the AFL to fine Grimes for staging for the free kick.
Hawthorn great Jordan Lewis also referred to it as a “borderline flop” and said the AFL needed to crack down on the issue.
“I think if we’re going to be hard on forwards that play for free kicks, I think the same needs to be said for defenders who are trying to draw a free kick,” Lewis said on Fox Footy on Saturday night.
“For him to dive forward at least another couple of metres, after getting body contact, I think he’d like to have that moment again.”
Grimes' threats come two weeks after GWS stalwart Callan Ward also received death threats and abuse when accused of staging for a free kick, also in a match against Essendon.
Ward effectively kicked the match-winning goal being awarded a free kick for high contact against Essendon's Shaun McKernan.
Essendon issued a statement after the Ward abuse condemning the threats.
"As a club, we do not stand for this and we will continue to call out this toxic online behaviour," the statement said.