NORTH Melbourne coach Brad Scott will not tolerate Lindsay Thomas staging for free kicks like he did against Geelong on Saturday night, saying the star forward's bad habit has hurt his reputation.
It was an incident at the 24-minute mark of the Roos' 32-point loss that raised Scott's ire.
Thomas was leading for the ball when Geelong opponent James Kelly appeared to tug on his jumper.
In an effort to accentuate the contact and milk a free kick, Thomas dived forward to the ground.
His tactic worked as he kicked a goal from his resultant free kick, but Scott made it clear he did would not tolerate any repeats.
"I wasn't happy with that. Whether it was a free kick or not, just play the ball, mark the ball," Scott said.
"If you get infringed the umpire will pay it. We've worked on that and I think he's improved over the last three, four, five years in that stuff.
"It's pretty clear, I've said to Lindsay, 'If you keep doing that the umpires will assume you're doing it all of the time even when it is a free kick'.
"So I'll speak to him about that again."
Thomas' reputation for staging was raised at a Tribunal hearing in June 2012 when West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey, who was appearing on a charge of striking Thomas to the groin, said the Kangaroo had twice feigned for free kicks in the teams' clash the previous weekend.
Scott agreed that Thomas' reputation as a player had suffered from the perception that he was a stager.
"I'd like some people to go and compare his output over the last three years versus other players in other teams who play similar positions and I think he'd come up pretty favourably," Scott said.
"But he probably isn't spoken about in the same glowing terms because of these things and I think that is important.
"But more important than that is the fact that I would hate to see Lindsay not getting free kicks when he's genuinely infringed because there's a perception that he plays for it.
"So we don't condone it and he's got to stop doing it."
Players can be cited for staging by the Match Review Panel, with Essendon's Leroy Jetta and Carlton's Jarrad Waite having been reprimanded in the past.
North was right in Saturday night's game until giving away a string of costly free kicks in the second quarter that swung the match the Cats' way.
A five-minute period from the nine-minute mark of the term particularly hurt, with the Roos conceding three free kicks that resulted in three goals and stretched the Cats' lead to a handy 22 points.
Scott described the Roos' second-quarter lapse as "15 minutes of madness", but noted that the umpires had been more lenient on off-the-ball incidents in the second half.
"I found it really hard because we are brutal on undisciplined rubbish, there's no place in the game (for it) and it costs the team," Scott said.
"But I found it really hard with the vision that I had in the box to identify whether players needed to be disciplined for it.
"But I know we didn't have any paid in the second half and neither did Geelong, so probably the question that should be asked is what was said to the umpires at half-time."
Asked to elaborate on his comments, Scott refused to criticise the umpires.
"I just know there weren't off-the-ball free kicks in the second half … and there were a lot in the first half," he said.