Did Lance Franklin stage for a free kick against the Eagles?
Did Lance Franklin stage for a free kick against the Eagles?

Buddy cleared over ‘diving’ incident

SYDNEY superstar Lance Franklin has been cleared of staging after a controversial free kick against West Coast.

Franklin appeared to exaggerate contact from Shannon Hurn in a marking contest late in the third quarter of Friday night's clash against the Eagles at the SCG.

As the star forward prepared to leap for the ball he received some contact to his arm and was pushed forward but did not fall to the ground.

He was paid a free kick immediately by the controlling umpire, one of three free kicks he received in quick succession late in the quarter.

Match review officer Michael Christian laid no charges from the game and did not deem the Franklin incident worthy of any further explanation.

The incident comes after criticism of Richmond star Alex Rance in the past two weeks for his diving tactics. He was  was fined by Christian for staging against Essendon.

Franklin's incident drew immediate comparisons to the criticism of Rance.

Former Collingwood and Richmond forward Brian Taylor was quick to comment.

"I wonder if that was Alex Rance, would we be saying was there a bit of mayo on it?" he said on Channel 7, wondering whether Franklin milked a free kick.

In explaining his decision to fine Rance for staging against Essendon, Christian said: "If you excessively exaggerate in an unsportsmanlike manner that may affect an umpire's decision then it's deemed as staging."

Lance Franklin booted two goals in the win over West Coast. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Lance Franklin booted two goals in the win over West Coast. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall said Franklin should not have been awarded a free kick and used Christian's Rance explanation to declare the former Hawk could be in trouble.

"I don't kno

w about excessive but it definitely influenced the umpire's decision," he said on Fox Footy. "There was no free kick there.

"I thought Hurn outbodied him and extended his hands to the ball in the marking contest. He did everything you could ask him to do."

Sydney premiership coach Paul Roos said Franklin definitely exaggerated contact.

"It's going to be a test for Michael Christian in my opinion because clearly it wasn't a free kick," Roos said.

"So if you excessively exaggerate to milk a free kick, he's excessively exaggerated to milk a free kick. Was it as bad as Rance's? No I don't think so, but the result was exactly the same.

"I'll predicate this though, I don't think Rance should have got fined either."

North Melbourne champion Wayne Carey defended Franklin.

"It wasn't a dive," he said.

"He maybe milked the free kick a little bit."

Fans were quick to criticise the star goal-kicker and urged for consistency from Christian when reviewing Friday night's clash on Saturday.

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