North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says Lindsay Thomas is paying for “the sins of the past” after he was given a one-week suspension from the match review panel on Monday.
Thomas was cited for a crude clothesline tackle on Western Bulldogs youngster Lachie Hunter at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
“Did we consider challenging the decision? I mean, yes we did,” said Scott ahead of North’s training session at Arden Street on Thursday.
“We felt it was a tackle gone wrong correctly paid as a free kick. The umpire clearly thought it wasn’t reportable, the MRP did and we were pretty clear of the view that if we challenged it we would have lost because it was Lindsay Thomas. So that’s what Lindsay has got to deal with.”
Scott said that Thomas had evolved as a footballer and those at the club could see how far he had come.
“I’m really focused with Lindsay on his improvement over the last six or seven years,” Scott said.
“He has transformed himself from being an inconsistent small forward to a really solid contributor each week. He still lets himself down every now and then, but our football club, and me in particular, are going to make sure we support him all the way through.
“Lindsay is an antagonistic small forward who puts himself in a position where he gets free kicks, sometimes he doesn’t. You know I can completely understand opposition supporters and some commentators who maybe don’t analyse the game very closely having one view on him. I have a very very different view and our football club has a very very different view.
“He is an outstanding ambassador for our club and if you’d seen the young Lindsay Thomas in 2009 not being able to make eye contact with people he spoke to, to now leading Indigenous programs where he presents in front of groups of 80-plus people, he’s made a significant transformation. But people have got long memories and Lindsay understands that. He is paying for sins of the past and probably will continue into the future, but we’ll just focus on his present.”
North Melbourne’s present is a 6-0 record this season and match against St Kilda this Sunday at Etihad Stadium, but Scott says he’s wary of the Saints after their recent form.
“Week to week it’s the challenge that presents that is the focus of the football club … They ran the reigning premier to three points and a lot of people would have quite rightly said they were very unlucky to lose that game. I think their best is very very good and that’s where our focus is.
“It does sound cliched, but I think the reality is that any team can come out and surprise you so our focus is on St Kilda, our focus has been on what they do really well.”
The Kangaroos this weekend will mark a milestone 300 games for Drew Petrie, with Scott lauding the big man for settling into his role as a key forward for the developing team.
“It fits in with the way he is, wherever North Melbourne had a problem onfield Drew Petrie went there and tried to fix it. And that’s great when you are a strong team competing in finals, but when you are trying to develop a young team we needed to settle the team down … and in my opinion he’s only got better since 2009.
“He’s personified what this club is about … the veterans who are around this club take their responsibility to leave a legacy for our football club really seriously and Drew has just been the quintessential North Melbourne person. He’s a fierce competitor on field, but he is an absolute gentleman and great family man off the field.”
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