Brayden Maynard accused of 'pathetic' act as fans call on AFL to sanction Collingwood player

The Magpies star has become the latest player caught in a storm over 'staging'.

AFL fans are calling for Brayden Maynard to be fined after the Collingwood player appeared to play-act in order to win a free-kick against the Suns on Saturday night. Maynard became the latest player embroiled in the 'staging' controversy after going to ground in exaggerated fashion after receiving a whack from Gold Coast player Ben Long.

Long lashed out at Maynard and hit him in the mid-section, but the Collingwood player appeared to overreact and flop onto the ground to win a free-kick. Maynard even appeared to put his hands on his head while he was on the ground, even though he'd been hit in the chest.

Brayden Maynard, pictured here after being hit by Ben Long in Collingwood's clash with Gold Coast.
Brayden Maynard went down very easily after being hit by Ben Long in Collingwood's clash with Gold Coast. Image: AAP/Fox Footy

The umpires paid Maynard the free kick, but questions have emerged about whether he should be fined for 'staging'. The controversy erupted last week when Melbourne Demons player Steven May faked a head injury to win a free-kick, and was hit with a fine by the AFL for his troubles.

On Friday night, May's teammate Koltyn Tholstrup also drew the ire of commentators and fans for overreacting to a late hit from Dayne Zorko. With Maynard's actions appearing to be similar to Tholstrup's, fans were calling for the AFL to take action on Saturday night.

Brayden Maynard.
AFL fans are calling for Brayden Maynard to be fined. Image: Fox Footy

"Surely a staging fine is coming his way," one person wrote on social media. Another commented: "Maynard better be fined for staging. That was pathetic."

After the May incident last week, Collingwood champion Nathan Buckley said the AFL needs to hand out suspensions if it wants to stamp out staging. “Staging has been a part of the game," Buckley said on SEN radio. "I reckon I’ve got two bad ones I can remember. One where I threw myself to the ground in the goal square and I felt terrible. I can only imagine how Steven May is feeling right now, but that doesn’t escape the reality of what he chose to do.

“I actually think it’s on the worse level of staging for me because of what this rule is there to do. This rule is there to protect players, protect the head, it’s not there as just a rule of how we want the game to be played, it’s there for the protection of players. I think anyone who accentuates head contact in a tackle and does it so blatantly like that, I think it should be a week (ban). It should be elevated beyond a normal staging fine.”

The Suns won 14.17 (101) to 13.12 (90) on Saturday at Carrara, with Ben King kicking four goals and the hosts defying some Nick Daicos and Jordan de Goey brilliance. Gold Coast led by 32 points late in the third quarter before Craig McRae's side mounted their latest comeback, kicking the next six goals to lead by one point with four minutes to play.

The Magpies had come back from 54 points down to beat North Melbourne in their last game, but the Suns weren't about to become another statistic for the defending premiers. Long bombed a goal to get the lead back for the Suns before Ben Ainsworth added another to seal it.

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McRae said he was proud of his side's never-say-die attitude but frustrated they continue to put themselves in tricky positions. "It's pretty obvious ... you look at the intent, the pressure in the last quarter," he said.

"Why aren't we delivering that in the second quarter? You wrestle with this stuff. Sixty-eight inside 50s is a lot to give up; we'd struggle to win any game. So there's a natural emotion of, 'come on, let's get busy'."

with AAP