Steven May cops punishment from AFL after Melbourne star savaged over 'embarrassing' act

The AFL world has called out Steven May over a bizarre moment in his team's victory.

Melbourne Demons star Steven May has copped a fine from the AFL after Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes labelled his bizarre moment as 'embarrassing' for the sport. North Melbourne fell agonisingly short of an epic comeback having trailed by 39 points at one stage, before losing 70-67.

However, the match was overshadowed by a controversial incident involving May. In the third quarter, May was tackled with just nine minutes left. Eddie Ford got hold of May and pulled him to the ground in a ball-and-all tackle.

Steven May (pictured left) tackled and May reacting.
The AFL world, including Kane Cornes, has rounded on Melbourne star Steven May (pictured) after he was accused of 'staging' an injury for a free-kick. (images: Fox Sports/Getty Images)

May remained on the floor clutching at his head. Ford was penalised for a dangerous tackle as it was deemed May's head collided with the ground after being flung to the turf. Kangaroos fans were left fuming with many viewers feeling May should have conceded a free-kick for holding the ball.

However, replays showed May's head never hit the ground in the tackle. Instead, May appeared to push his head into the ground after the initial contact to win a free kick and trick the umpires.

Fans accused May of 'staging' an injury and six-time all-Australian Brad Johnson claimed May 'milked' the free-kick. On Sunday, May was fined for staging by AFL match review officer Michael Christian. He can accept a $1250 sanction with an early plea, or risk copping a $1875 fine if he challenges it.

Port Adelaide great Cornes was extremely critical of May's actions and blasted the Melbourne veteran for his 'embarrassing' incident. "Has to be a fine. That is one of his more embarrassing moments on the field," Cornes said on Channel 9.

"His head went no where near the ground. And then he has thrown his head into the ground and grabbed his head to suck in a free-kick. I think he can be fined."

While May's incident has marred Melbourne's win, Kangaroos coach Clarkson was left shattered his team couldn't get the comeback victory. “We’re really pleased that we made a game of it in the end, but we’re disappointed we didn’t start the game as well as we’d have liked,” Clarkson said after the game.

“You know, five goals to one in the first quarter – we fully expected the Demons to come out firing after a couple of weeks since their last game. They started the game particularly well, and we worked our way back into the contest … I just wish there was a fifth quarter, we couldn’t quite get there.”

North Melbourne have come close in recent weeks in losses to Collingwood and Melbourne. And Clarkson said he has confidence his team can eventually turn a close loss into a win very soon. “It seems a little comical that we weren’t doing a hell of a lot of it in the first half of the year,” he added.

“What’s the point practising something when you’re never in close finishes? But it gives us heart that we can practice some of that now, not that we absolutely ignored it, but it’s pretty hard for players to get motivated to practice red-time finishes in games when you’re rarely in them. At the moment the more experienced sides probably know what to do in the crunch a little bit better than what we are, but at least we’re giving ourselves a chance in games, and we’ll learn.”

Steven May celebrates a goal.
Steven May (pictured left) is facing scrutiny from the AFL world.