June 25, 2024

Geelong’s Ollie Henry received a fine following an incident during the Cats’ victory over Carlton, but it’s the response of the opposing player, Zac Williams, that has drawn criticism.

Will Zac Williams put in the "hard, painful" work to become the player  Carlton paid for?

While the Blues trailed by four points, defender Williams appeared to exaggerate contact with Henry, prompting accusations of staging for a free kick.

In the lead-up to the event, Geelong’s Tyson Stengle made a mark and passed the ball to Gryan Miers near the center square. As Henry moved towards the 50m arc, Williams suddenly altered his direction, leading to contact between him and Henry. Williams then exaggerated the impact, throwing his head back and jumping to the side to appeal for a free kick from the umpire.

Although the incident was overlooked by the umpires, it caught the attention of the Match Review Officer, who deemed the contact as intentional conduct.

Henry was fined $6,520, with a reduced offer of $3,750 available with an early plea.

Commentating on the match for Fox Footy, David King remarked, “He’s attempted to draw a free kick and failed.”

Former Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall echoed King’s sentiments as he observed Williams’ dramatic reaction on replay.

“He goes down a bit too easily for my liking,” Dunstall commented. “I don’t want to be harsh, but he initiated contact by changing direction into him. There was a slight brush over the shoulder, but his fall was exaggerated.”

AFL commentator Anthony Hudson shared a similar reaction upon reviewing the replay.

“(Williams) went down off the ball. The umpires missed it, but it’s clear for everyone to see now,” Hudson remarked. “Williams was the one who altered his path.”

The incident sparked varied discussions on social media, with some fans accusing Williams of “staging.”

“Embarrassing and cost his team a goal with that staging,” one user commented.

“It’s a clear free kick. How did all four umpires miss it?” questioned another.

Another social media user sarcastically remarked, “Give him his well-deserved Oscar.”

In addition to this incident, Carlton’s top goal kicker in 2021, Harry McKay, was fined a total of $5,000 for two counts of contact with the umpire during the game’s final minutes.

He has been offered a reduced fine of $3,125 if he opts for an early guilty plea.

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