Kick out this blight on the beautiful game

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat oversees training at Gosch's Paddock in Melbourne, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Vukovic breaks the Hyundai A-League games record this weekend when he plays his 229th game. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat oversees training at Gosch's Paddock in Melbourne, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Vukovic breaks the Hyundai A-League games record this weekend when he plays his 229th game. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING JULIAN SMITH

Kevin Muscat was once dubbed the dirtiest player in football - a title that did not endear himself to fans, including yours truly.

In a playing career which took him to Wolves, Crystal Palace, Glasgow Rangers and Millwall, the former Socceroo was hard and uncompromising to say the least.

But the one thing about Muscat as a player was he was never one to fake an injury or try to get a fellow professional a yellow or red card.

Muscat has impressed a lot of onlookers, including myself, since taking the coaching reins at Melbourne Victory.

Last week, however, was the closest I have seen him come to losing it following Leigh Broxham's sending off against Adelaide United, and I can understand why.

Spanish players bring a lot of good things to the A-League but one of their bad attributes is some look for fouls and to get other players in trouble on the field.

That certainly appeared to be the case when Reds midfielder Isaias went down under an aerial challenge from Broxham, who had already been booked for a first-half tackle on fellow Spaniard, Sergio Cirio.

Muscat deemed the way Isaias went down "un-Australian", and I have to say it certainly wasn't a good look when he was rolling around on the field after what appeared to be minimal contact.

"The player he (Broxham) is competing against (Isaias), in every challenge, always hits the deck," Muscat said.

"If you understand the individual as well, Leigh Broxham has never been sent off before.

"There were other incidents where it was obvious and blatant that people were trying to draw fouls - and it doesn't get dealt with. All it does is encourage people to keep doing it.

"It's something that's creeping into the game, chasing the referee after every incident, every contest, insinuating yellow cards ... it didn't really feel like we were in Australia."

Players contest the ball during the Round 1, A-league game between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory at the Adelaide oval, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (AAP Image/David Mariuz)
Players contest the ball during the Round 1, A-league game between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory at the Adelaide oval, Friday, Oct. 9, 2015. (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

Strong words from Muscat, but ones I generally agree with.

If players continue to look for free kicks or feign injury then fans will soon see through it.

Muscat was also spot on with his comments about the choice of referee for the game.

The Victory v Adelaide clash was clearly the most high-profile game of round one, yet A-League officials did not appoint one of its three professional referees - Ben Williams, Jarred Gillett and Chris Beath - to take charge of the game.

I am not for one minute suggesting Peter Green was not competent enough to referee the fixture, but surely if full-time referees are available they should be allocated the biggest games.

The one thing nobody wants is for games to be decided on the back of a poor refereeing decision.


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