It has been said that footy players, unlike their counterparts in soccer, devote great energy appearing to be unhurt, but that seemingly does not prevent some from turning in Academy Award winning performances in the fine art of diving or staging.
The AFL is looking to crack down on the practice, as it is universally reviled.
Essendon forward Josh Green finds himself $1000 poorer after Match Review Officer Michael Christian on Monday found Green to be a bad actor. Green was fortunate that no suspension was involved, as an appeal could have cost the Bombers another $10,000 if not successfully challenged.
Green was hamming it up after receiving a bump to his shoulder from Mitch Duncan of the Cats. He waited, a moment too long perhaps, before throwing his head back and collapsing to the ground, chin in hand.
Former player Robert Walls told AFL Tonight that he was glad to see actual consequences for staging.
“He throws the head back. He hasn’t been contacted at all,” Walls said. “It’s embarrassing what he’s done … I think it’s great that this has happened early in the season so it puts all the players on notice. You won’t see Green do that again. So well done.”
Others expressed similar sentiments to those of Walls, including Geelong Coach Chris Scott. “We should be a lot harder on that stuff. We’re getting guys suspended when players clearly stage — I don’t like it. I don’t think anyone likes it. I think if you do it over a period of time, the players that have had this accusation levelled at them over the last say five or six years would say, ‘don’t get into habit of doing it because it’ll be really hard to break [and] once it’s hard to break, you develop a reputation for it’.”
Kane Cornes, a notorious flopper, was the first to be investigated for the practice by the AFL, back in 2010. He admitted as much, saying on SEN’s Whateley, “I was a diver. That phase of my career remains the biggest regret of my time in the AFL.”