Milking frees not a big issue: Clarkson

Hawk Shaun Burgoyne will have to pass a fitness test before taking on Fremantle on Monday.
Hawk Shaun Burgoyne will have to pass a fitness test before taking on Fremantle on Monday.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has resisted the urge to have another crack at Tom Papley despite the Sydney forward finally being pinged for staging.

After his team's tight loss to Sydney last month, Clarkson said Papley "milks a free kick as well as anyone".

The comments came after Papley earned a free kick in front of goal after being bowled over by a Hawthorn player just moments after kicking a major.

Swans coach John Longmire wasn't happy that Papley was singled out by Clarkson.

But Papley had nowhere to hide this week when he was slapped with a $500 fine for staging during his team's loss to Collingwood.

Papley theatrically flopped forward to the ground after feeling the arm of Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard in his back.

Clarkson chose his words carefully when asked about the incident on Saturday.

"He's a very classy player, one of the best small forwards in the competition," Clarkson said.

"I think there's 800 players in the competition that would want to play their footy like he plays his footy.

"The point I was trying to make (with my previous comments about Papley) is more across the difficulty for the umpires.

"Every player in the competition tries to do whatever they can to get an advantage for their team.

"The challenge for the umpires is to determine what's real, in terms of a free kick, and what's not.

"I tried it (to milk free kicks) and so did my teammates and so did the players at Hawthorn.

"It's just a given in the game, that if you can try to get some sort of advantage, then you will."

Clarkson doesn't think staging for free kicks is a major issue and he was sorry it was put on the radar on the back of the comments he made in frustration straight after a close loss.

"This has been going on since Adam was a boy, so I don't feel like it's a big issue," Clarkson said.

"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."

Meanwhile, Clarkson is still weighing up whether to play veteran Shaun Burgoyne in Monday's clash with Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

Scans cleared Burgoyne of a hamstring injury, but the veteran will need to pass a fitness test on Sunday to have any chance of fronting the Dockers.

Australian Associated Press