Hands off: Brad Scott says both players and umpires need to work together to avoid contact.
As the AFL prepares to head to the appeals board to prove its point, North Melbourne coach Brad Scott says players now have a "clear message" to not touch umpires.
However, Scott also believes it's important for umpires to keep their distance in a bid to avoid contact.
Geelong forward Tom Hawkins was suspended for a match last week for intentional umpire contact before Carlton brothers Charlie and Ed Curnow and Gold Coast co-captain Steven May were told they were free to play this weekend despite being cited by match review officer Michael Christian.
But Charlie and Ed Curnow still face a fight to line up against Melbourne on Sunday, for the AFL has appealed the decision, labelling the $1000 fines each had been given as "manifestly inadequate". The appeal board hearing will be held on Thursday at 3pm.
The rash of incidents has sparked debate as to who has been to blame, prompting Scott to deliver a message to players and coaches.
"For people who are saying now it's OK to touch an umpire, well, that's just not true – they [Curnows and May] were fined," Scott said.
Ed Curnow makes contact with an umpire.
"I think there is a clear message – whether the message is strong enough, that is for everyone to debate – but they weren't let off, they were fined.
"If the AFL want to make a statement [by appealing] that it's never OK to touch an umpire, then that's completely up to them.
"I think [the issue] is twofold. I'd like to see the umpires try to keep their distance a little bit and for players to show respect to the umpire and restraint and stay out of their way as well."
Kangaroos captain Jack Ziebell, meanwhile, will take on Greater Western Sydney after he was cleared of a kneeing charge by the tribunal.
Tom Hawkins missed a week for this incident.
Umpires continue to be in the news after Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson met with AFL chief Gillon McLachlan on Monday to argue what he felt had been the illegal blocking of his forwards by Sydney's defenders last weekend. A subsequent memo to club coaches this week has highlighted the issue as one the umpires will keep a close eye on.
Scott said he did not have a problem with Clarkson appealing directly to McLachlan.
"I think all people in football would like to talk to Alastair and if he wants to sit down and have a chat then I think everyone would be better for sitting down and listening to Clarko's views on things," Scott said.
"The umpires have made it clear, certainly to our club, that the marking infringements, the blocking in marking contests, are by far the hardest thing for them to adjudicate at the moment.
"We have the benefit of slow motion and replays. When you look at everything in real time, it's hard to adjudicate, so they acknowledge it's hard to adjudicate.
"Whenever something is hard to adjudicate, clubs tend to find a way to exploit that. I think it will watched closely this week."
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