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North Melbourne Kangaroos, Alastair Clarkson appeals to umpires, Cody Weightman off-the-ball free kicks

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson has called on the league’s umpires to pay closer attention to “milked” contact after two questionable off-the-ball incidents resulted in “costly” goals in the Kangaroos’ 17-point loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Both occurrences involved Western Bulldogs forward Cody Weightman, and goals were kicked from the resulting free kicks.

Late in the first term and with the Kangaroos trailing by three points, a free kick was awarded against defender Jackson Archer, who was penalised for catching Weightman high off the ball.

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Alastair Clarkson urged the umpires to pay closer attention to “milked” contact during his press conference. AFL

However, replays soon showed Archer had barely skimmed the back of Weightman’s head and that the 23-year-old exaggerated his reaction.

The free kick was set 25 metres out and directly in front of the Bulldogs’ goal with Weightman kicking truly to extend his side’s lead to nine points.

Later, just before three-quarter time and as Bulldogs midfielder Adam Treloar took a mark 50 metres out from goal on the boundary line, Kangaroos defender Aidan Corr pushed Weightman inside the arch.

Another free kick was paid — only this time the goal-kicking duties were given to Treloar, and he made no mistake.

Again, replays showed the field umpire be deceived by Weightman — who played up the contact having been shoved with only little force.

With only 20 goals scored for the match and the margin standing at just 2.5 at the final siren, Clarkson described Weightman’s theatrics as “costly” post-match.

Cody Weightman shoves Jackson Archer after kicking a goal during the round 16 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Western Bulldogs.

Cody Weightman shoves Jackson Archer after kicking a goal during the round 16 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Western Bulldogs. Daniel Pockett via Getty Images

“They got two goals from Weightman off the ball free kicks. You can argue whether they were there or not,” he told media.

“It is frustrating, but the umps are making decisions on what they think they see and so you’ve just got to abide by what transpires on the ground.

“But [when] it’s a close contest and goals are at a premium, they become quite costly.

“So, we need to work out with our own players if the contact is unnecessary?

“There’s contact that happens between players all the time and what the umps need to be really, really mindful of is just how much their free kicks are getting milked when they are so costly when they’re in that part of the ground.”

The loss marked the Kangaroos’ 14th defeat this season.

Making matters worse, star recruit Zac Fisher was subbed out of the match with a lower leg injury during the third term after racking up 22 disposals.


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