'I've got a couple of bruises': Hawks skipper under fire for pinching

 afl.com.au  06/14/2019 13:59:00 

HAWTHORN captain Ben Stratton is almost certain to come under the glare of the Match Review Officer for his behind-the-play defensive tactics against Essendon on Friday night.Stratton appeared to pinch opponent Orazio Fantasia from the outset, continuing after the Bombers forward brought the actions to the attention of umpire Ray Chamberlain.

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While defenders will often try a variety of niggling moves to try and distract their opponents, there has been a cultural change over recent seasons that could put Stratton in the spotlight when Michael Christian reveals his Match Review findings on Saturday afternoon.

"I've got a couple of bruises on the arm, 'Stratts' loves to pinch and he's a really good defender," Fantasia told Channel Seven.

"To come back and play on him I knew I was in for a tough night.

"... You can't do anything about it. He's a really good defender, he's got all the tricks in the book. He's done it for years and every time I play him I know it's a tough one."

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Essendon coach John Worsfold could not be drawn on the issue after the Bombers' win. "There's rules in place around the game and things that happen within the rules or outside the rules. I assume that will take care of itself," Worsfold said.

"I haven't seen what it looked like, so I really can't comment."

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson also said he hadn't seen the incident.

"I wouldn’t like to comment until I speak to Stratts, and once I speak to Stratts I'll have a better feel for what my attitude is to it," he said.

Stratton may also need to answer questions over giving an obscene, if well hidden, finger gesture to the crowd.

Fantasia and Stratton shake hands after the game. Picture: AFL Photos

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