Three-time All-Australian Nick Dal Santo says Match Review Officer Michael Christian deserves credit for deciding to clamp down on staging, and believes it sets clear guidelines to the rest of the competition.
Essendon forward Josh Green became the first player in AFL history to be charged with the offence and was handed a $1000 sanction, after it was determined he had taken a dive when clutching his face, following contact to his chest by Geelong’s Mitch Duncan.
“I Loved it. I think it sets a clear precedent and example for what we don’t like to see in the game,” Dal Santo said on SEN Afternoons.
“There’s a difference I think between exaggerating a free kick and staging, and trying to draw that free kick.
“I just thought it set a clear no-no for the rest of the competition, and if Josh Green does that again I would be shocked.
“If he doesn’t understand it right now, no-one does.”
Dal Santo says Green will have to wear the stigma from players at rival clubs, and even potentially his own.
“They’ll be letting him know. I played with Lindsay Thomas for a period of time, and the opposition would absolutely let him know that he was diving or ducking, all the time,” he said.
“I played football with Brendon Goddard as well, I reckon Brendon Goddard might even let Josh Green know about it, that we don’t like to see that in this football club, it reflects poorly on everyone else.”
Christian has already had to deal with a couple of high-profile cases since beginning his role, and Dal Santo has appreciated the clarity he has given when explaining his decisions.
“I think we’re quick to jump on the AFL as a whole, we’re quick to pick them apart to pieces, but to Michael Christian – well done,” he said.
"Whether you agree with his decisions or don’t, and I look back at the Robbie Gray one, which I actually didn’t agree with, and thought he could’ve got off, but at least I walked away from that example saying there was clarity why that decision was made.
“I think it gives us followers, watches a better understanding about what is acceptable and what isn’t, compared to previous years.”