The AFL’s war on staging entered a key battleground with Michael Christian’s decision to fine Richmond premiership star Alex Rance for his Superman impression.
All due respect to Essendon’s Josh Green, Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard and Sydney’s Callum Sinclair, but Rance is the first really big fish Christian has taken aim at as he attempts to rid the game of the practice.
Rance propelled himself forward with arms flailing after minimal contact from Shaun McKernan in the third quarter of the Dreamtime at the ‘G clash on Saturday night.
The star defender was widely panned for the dramatic display, notably by AFL legend Wayne Carey who described it as crap.
The decision to fine Rance, who was considered lucky to escape sanction for a similar incident involving Swans star Lance Franklin last year, has won support from some key industry figures.
“I don’t like it, we don’t like it, and I think it’s good the AFL are stamping it out,” St Kilda coach Alan Richardson told Fox Footy’s AFL360 of staging.
Geelong coach Chris Scott believes Rance would be a little embarrassed watching vision of his theatrical flop.
“I think it’s quite funny watching Alex Rance do that … but I don’t think players like it either,” Scott said.
“If he’s not the best player in the game he’s really close to it and I suspect he’d look at that and go ‘I’m not going to do that any more’.”
Scott praised Christian and AFL football chief Steve Hocking for clamping down on the practice.
Rance was tight-lipped about the incident when approached by reporters at Punt Road on Monday.
While the Tigers star is seen by some to have form in the area, Christian said he made the decision to slap him with a $1000 fine based purely on Saturday’s incident.
“If you excessively exaggerate in an unsportsmanlike manner that may affect an umpire’s decision then it’s deemed as staging,” Christian said.
“In this particular case, there was only minimal contact by McKernan and Alex excessively exaggerated that contact.
“He was paid a free kick and I believe it fit into the provisions of staging.”