Lions coach condones diving in AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions coach condones diving in AFL

By Jim Morton 07/07/2008 02:02:28 PM Comments (0)

Leigh Matthews has no problems with soccer-like dramatics in the AFL and endorsed players attempting to milk free kicks.

Brisbane coach Matthews condoned diving and acting as pure "gamesmanship" after Collingwood's Shane Wakelin admitted he took a dive after Barry Hall lashed out with his elbow at ANZ Stadium on the weekend.

The four-time premiership coach and player of the century, regarded as one of the toughest men to play the game, believed Wakelin couldn't be criticised for his exaggerated act.

"If you can milk a free kick then I think you do milk a free kick," Matthews said.

"I'm certainly not going to be a moral arbitrator that you shouldn't milk free kicks.

"There's no rules against trying to milk a free kick provided it doesn't put you out of the next phase of play."

When asked whether he feared the AFL may be plagued by histrionics that are a blight in soccer, Matthews showed no concern.

"It always has been, nothing's changed," he said.

"Every player that has ever played will try and milk a free kick if he can.

"That's normal, I don't think there is anything unusual about that.

"As a moral issue of trying to milk a free kick I would think every player has tried to exaggerate contact, even if it be high contact and being held when you're not really being (held), that's just part of the game.

"The umpires are there to be the independent decision-maker on what is and what isn't."

The only problems Matthews could see in taking dives was if it failed to reap a reward and also if a player gained a reputation for as a serial diver.

"But you have got to make sure you don't milk free kicks and put yourself out of the contest," he said.

"That's where it does your own team harm.

"If you get a reputation for it then I guess the kicks might not go your way.

Although he took a dive, Wakelin admitted after the Magpies 29-point win on Saturday night that Hall's blow didn't make contact with his chin.

The full-back said he fell over in a failed attempt to win the free kick.

"Oh look, you've got to. You've got to try to milk a free kick whenever you can," he said.

"I thought I would give it a crack and unfortunately I didn't get one."

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