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Scott wants ball players protected

By Adam Cooper 06/06/2010 10:37:23 AM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott wants better protection for players trapped over the ball when it comes to line-ball umpiring decisions in AFL games.

North fullback Scott Thompson was penalised for holding the ball at a crucial stage in Saturday night's game against the Brisbane Lions, but had little chance of getting the ball out of a huge pack of players.

Amon Buchanan put the Lions in front with the resultant free kick, although North regained their composure and the lead and held on for a one-point win, 12.18 (90) to 13.11 (89) at Etihad Stadium.

Scott was loath to criticise the umpires given the tough job they face, but said players making the play by attacking the ball should be given the benefit of the doubt in holding-the-ball decisions.

"I'll always err on the side of protecting the ball player, as the player who gets in and goes for the footy should be protected," Scott said.

"It's a really difficult situation when a player is on his knees and grabs the ball and gets set upon and has a free kick for holding the ball paid against him with no opportunity to get it out.

"I don't think we want to see too many of those.

"Generally the umpires do a great job and it's a difficult job and they do it well, but I think we should always protect the player going for the footy."

North made a superb start to the game through a seven-goal first quarter and led by 44 points early in the third quarter.

But the Lions kicked the next eight goals to claim the lead until North's Levi Greenwood kicked the winner from a difficult angle with just over a minute left.

Scott said North's fade-out highlighted the work his side had to reducing the gap between its best football and its worst, and on its finishing, as they managed 2.11 from just before half-time.

But Scott was pleased with the way the Kangaroos responded after successive thrashings at the hands of the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle.

"Our intensity was fantastic and our effort to compete was fantastic given the way the whole club was extremely disappointed (the previous week)," he said.

"I was so disappointed (after the loss to Fremantle), not only for the players and disappointed in the players, but I was really disappointed for our supporters.

"We've got the most loyal supporters in the competition and our (previous) fortnight has been really hard for them.

"It's a credit to North Melbourne supporters the way they do support us in tough times, so it was just fantastic to get the win for them."

North, whose win took them to a 5-6 win-loss record, play Carlton on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.

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