LINDSAY Thomas is working hard to lose his reputation as a stager, saying it's not something he wants to be remembered for.
The North Melbourne forward received a public rebuke from coach Brad Scott after an incident against Geelong in round 19 last year, when he won a free kick by feigning a push in the back from Cat James Kelly.
Thomas told the club's website he had spoken with Scott about his reputation for staging at the end of last season and was striving to drop the bad habit.
"I want to cut it out of my game because I'm coming to the back end of my career and I don't want to be remembered for that, so it's something I'm continuing to work on," Thomas said.
After Thomas' dive against the Cats, Scott said the forward had been trying hard not to stage over the past five years and had improved.
"I have said to Lindsay, 'If you keep doing that, the umpires will assume you are doing it all the time, even when it is a free kick'," Scott said.
"I would like some people to go and compare his output over the last three years versus other players at other teams who play similar positions and I think (he) would come up pretty favourably.
"But he probably isn't spoken about in the same glowing terms because of those things."
Scott's fears seemed well founded when Thomas was unlucky to miss several free kicks in North's subsequent semi-final win over Geelong.
Ironically, Thomas was not paid a free kick in the third quarter of that game after being held in a marking contest by Kelly.
Meanwhile, Thomas is aiming to return to full training within three or four weeks, with the goal of playing in North's round one NAB Challenge game against Adelaide in his hometown, Port Lincoln.
Thomas has been in North's rehabilitation group for much of this pre-season as he recovers from a foot injury he suffered in round 17 last season.