ALASTAIR Clarkson knew the question was coming.
Tom Papley's $500 fine on Friday for 'staging' was always going to make its way to Hawthorn's four-time premiership coach, who declared a fortnight ago the star Swan "milks free kicks as good as anyone".
After Papley "flopped" his way to a free kick in front of goal on Thursday night, in the words of Magpies opponent Brayden Maynard, Clarkson was asked for his take.
Greater Western Sydney's Callan Ward was also accused of exaggerating contact when he earned a late free kick on Friday night to kick the sealing goal against Essendon.
"It's a difficult one. This has been going on since Adam was a boy, so I don't feel like it's a big issue," Clarkson said, ahead of the Hawks' clash with Fremantle on Monday.
"I'm disappointed that it's become a big issue because of what I said two weeks ago, but it just continues to highlight the difficulties.
"It's already a difficult game to umpire. I'm not sure what the answer is – I haven't thought deeply enough about it, because I don't think it's such a big issue.
"That's why I'm disappointed I put it on the radar, in a sense, in a moment of frustration immediately post that game."
Clarkson said all players tried to get an "advantage" for their team and that he was no different in his playing days.
He blamed his Papley comment after the narrow Sydney defeat on the post-match rush to board a plane to Perth, saying "I probably just dropped my guard a little bit".
Meanwhile, Shaun Burgoyne (tight hamstring) remains an outside chance to face the Dockers, after making strong progress in his recovery at training on Friday.
Burgoyne left the field early in the last quarter of the Hawks' last-start win over Carlton with the injury.
THE FULL INJURY LIST Who is racing the clock?
Harry Jones, Ollie Hanrahan, Josh Morris, Dylan Moore, Conor Nash, Paul Puopolo or even Changkuoth Jiath, who was recently promoted from category B status, are contenders if Burgoyne doesn't play.
Forward recruit Jon Patton is also in the mix, a month after straining his right hamstring against Collingwood, although Clarkson said he was "more unlikely than likely".
"He's pretty close. He's trained this week and we'll have a decision to make," Clarkson said.
"He's a possible inclusion for this week, but we've just got to work out what's best for the side.
"There's a significant amount of rain forecast for Perth over the next couple of days, so whether that comes into the decision-making as well (is to be determined).
"There are a whole number of things – his formline and fitness and continuity of training and all that sort of stuff prior to his injury wasn't as perfect as we'd like it to be."