THE CRITICISM directed towards North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas for deliberately ducking in a tackle to receive a free kick is unjust, Kangaroos coach Brad Scott says.
The head-high contact rule was back on the agenda following last Friday night's North-Sydney Swans clash, which saw two first-half free kicks awarded to Thomas and converted into goals.
He was paid the free kicks after dropping his knees and lowering his centre of gravity when tackled by Heath Grundy in the first quarter and Nick Smith in the second term.
Scott said Thomas had been unfairly accused of intentionally exaggerating head-high contact.
"Lindsay before the game on Friday night had been paid two high free kicks for the year … but somehow he's the poster boy for so-called shrugging or ducking in the tackle," Scott told Fox Footy on Monday night.
"I've just told Lindsay to stay strong and to listen to the people that have his best interests at heart.
"There are always going to be people who are going to single him out for whatever reason.
"He gets unfairly criticised in my view; he is a terrific story."
The League deemed both Thomas frees correct decisions, while hosing down the possibility of changing the rule interpretation this season.
The Kangaroos' coach said Thomas had made a significant contribution both on and off the field.
"Where Lindsay might be with his life I shudder to think if it wasn't for AFL football," Scott said.
"He has done an enormous amount of work to turn his life around, he's got a terrific young family, he addressed our players before the game and spoke incredibly well.
"But for whatever reason, a lot of people just think he's an easy target and they have cheap shots at him."
After the game, both Scott and Swans coach John Longmire said the League should look at the head-high rule at season's end.
Swan George Hewett was also paid a free kick for a similar head-high tackle and converted the set shot, having dropped his knees in a Jamie Macmillan tackle.
Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton was vocal in his criticism during the Roos-Swans clash, labelling the head-high free kicks awarded "a blight on the game".
North Melbourne suffered its first defeat of the season against the Swans at the SCG, losing by 26 points.