North Melbourne have dropped an AFL bombshell, accusing the umpires of deliberately not paying free kicks to forward Lindsay Thomas.
In the wake of Friday night's fiery nine-point loss to Hawthorn, Kangaroos coach Brad Scott made the extraordinary claim that is certain to spark an AFL investigation.
Asked if he thought Thomas was unfairly treated by the umpires, Scott replied: "I know he is, because the umpires told our players 'well he's a ducker, so we don't pay high free kicks to Lindsay'.
"They told our guys that. That's clearly a preconceived idea.
"You just want the umpires to umpire what they see, not their preconceived ideas."
Scott said it was up to the AFL to follow up on the matter.
"It's for (umpiring director) Hayden Kennedy to deal with, not for me," Scott said.
"I'm just telling you what happened because they won't tell you, that's for sure."
Thomas kicked three goals in the loss and was involved in several contentious free kick decisions during the match.
He gave away a 50m penalty for a high bump on Josh Gibson that looked legal.
It also appeared Thomas missed out on a couple of a free kicks for high contact.
"Lindsay just has to keep playing and the umpires have to do their job," Scott said.
"We can't influence them, they just have to pay what they see.
"You'll get some ... some go against you.
"Our instruction to Lindsay is to keep playing and let the umpires do their job."
Scott said the free against Thomas for the Gibson bump was simply a wrong decision.
"We're not going to sit here and cry and moan about mistakes - mistakes happen," he said.
"But pre-conceived ideas and going into a game with a pre-conceived idea about a player, I don't think is right."