AFL fans are calling on league headquarters to take action against Collingwood midfielder Tom Mitchell.
Mitchell, the 2018 Brownlow medallist, was involved in an embarrassing exchange with Melbourne superstar Christian Petracca during the first quarter of the chaotic qualifying final on Thursday night.
During the exchange, Mitchell appears to say something to Petracca and Petracca grabs him.
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Then Petracca puts his hand – with little force – on Mitchell’s chest with the latter falling to ground like he had been hit.
The AFL does have a rule in place where players can be fined for staging, however, the match review officer rarely enforces it.
But Channel 7 commentator Brian Taylor did acknowledge that the contact looked soft.
Tom Mitchell collapsed after Christian Petracca’s soft push. Credit: Seven
”He didn’t really do much to Mitchell at all,” Taylor said
“Mitchell voluntarily sat on the ground, I would describe it as. Good umpiring. Nothing more than a whistle.”
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Players typically take unkindly to those who blatantly attempt to milk free kicks, and Petracca let Mitchell know all about his effort, giving him an earful when he was on the ground.
Fans have erupted over the incident and indeed believe the AFL has to step in.
“If Tom Mitchell doesn’t get fined for this flop then the AFL is not serious,” one fan said about the moment.
Another said the fall was “beyond pathetic”.
Petracca gives Mitchell an earful. Credit: Seven
“Absolutely embarrassing. Needs to be fined, a lot. Frustrating to watch. Putrid effort, Tom,” they blasted on social media
Another said it was “not a good look for the game” while another said “Mitchell was the best actor in the game”.
The 30-year-old Mitchell is a former Hawthorn and Sydney player, leaving the Hawks at the end of last year as that club started a hard rebuild.
“This is why 2 clubs couldn’t wait to get rid of Tom Mitchell, Collingwood is the perfect home for him,” one anti-Collingwood supporter said on social media.
Outside of that incident, Mitchell had a solid night in Collingwood’s seven-point victory, collecting 21 disposals, 14 contested possessions, and four tackles.
The pair faced off in the aftermath. Credit: Seven
Collingwood now have a week off and is into a preliminary final, which will also be at the MCG.
At the moment, their possible opponents are out of Brisbane, Port Adelaide, GWS or St Kilda.
They will also have young superstar Nick Daicos to add to the team that defeated Melbourne.
“It gives Nick an extra week to try and prepare; he probably would have come in a bit short next week,” coach Craig McRae said after the game.
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“Probably would have played, he’s progressing really well, but now he gets another week of training and loading and whatever that looks like.
“He said it was the worst two hours of his life watching the game.
“But he’s a great player. So any time you can welcome back your best players … you saw what happened; we bring in Darcy Moore and all of a sudden someone else falls in line.
“He’s certainly going to be a valuable player when he comes back in a couple of weeks.”
Melbourne will play next week against the winner of tonight’s elimination final between Carlton or Sydney.
– With AAP
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