KANGAROOS goalsneak Lindsay Thomas is adamant his reputation as a 'ducker' is unfair as he prepares to play his 200th game on Good Friday against the Western Bulldogs.
Thomas, 29, touched on that controversial part of his career at Arden St on Monday, as well as his past goalkicking yips and pride in being an indigenous footballer.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't (have doubts about reaching this milestone), because, obviously, you have your challenges in AFL footy – it doesn't come easy," he said.
"I'm extremely proud to come here and represent this footy club and to play 200 games is pretty special.
"I look at that (diving scrutiny) and find it pretty funny, to be honest, because I've been put as this poster boy as a diver or ducker.
"But if you look at your stats, I'm not even in the (top) 25 over the last couple of years. Does it annoy me? A little bit, but I move on from it and kind of have a bit of a laugh at it."
Coach Brad Scott came under fire last year for incorrectly stating that umpires told his players Thomas would not receive head-high free kicks because he was a 'ducker'. Scott was later fined $30,000.
Thomas has kicked 322 career goals, including no fewer than 34 in any of the past five seasons. He was the club's leading goalkicker in 2010 (29) and 2013 (53).
But his struggles in front of the big sticks, including a series of close-range misfires, saw him banished briefly to the VFL in 2011.
"The scrutiny our game has, you've just got to deal with it," Thomas said.
"They're the challenges you have to deal with and you get through them.
"I'm pretty fortunate I've had good people around me over my 11-year career and fortunate to be at such a great footy club as well."
Thomas has represented the Indigenous All-Stars on numerous occasions and Australia in the International Rules Series in 2013.
"I'm very proud to be an indigenous person," he said.
"Every time I can put the indigenous guernsey on and represent my people in those games is definitely special, but I represent my people every week when I play for North Melbourne."
Thomas said the Kangaroos deserved the Good Friday stage every year and that it was a great opportunity to raise money for the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.
North has started the season with three consecutive losses.
"We're playing some decent footy and we're stacking up with some great footy teams at the minute, but we're not doing it long enough," he said.
"We'll get on the track again this week and work hard and, hopefully, we can fix what we need to fix."