Geelong coach Chris Scott last night labelled West Coast fans disgraceful and the worst in the league after the Eagles fought off his valiant side to record a gritty five-point win.
In a contest marred by the officious interpretation of the deliberate out-of-bounds rule, Scott questioned whether Patersons Stadium was a fit environment for children to watch AFL games.
He fired the verbal shot after pockets of Eagles supporters booed star Cats forward Tom Hawkins as he lay motionless on the ground after he was badly concussed from landing on his head in a marking contest.
The Eagles kept their top-four hopes alive with the 16.6 (102) to 15.7 (97) win to anchor their position in fifth spot, just percentage behind fourth-placed Hawthorn.
But the talking point was the nine free kicks paid for deliberate out-of-bounds, believed to be an AFL record.
Scott said he was hugely disappointed by the reaction of fans to the plight of Hawkins, who was stretchered off in the first quarter.
"Standing on the boundary line, it is not an environment for young kids, which is a shame because we need young kids coming to the footy," Scott said.
"It was disgraceful. It's everywhere, but here's the worst.
"I loved it when I was at Freo. It's fantastic, it's great the energy here. It's the loudest ground in the competition. It's a great place to play footy.
"But if you're asking my opinion on whether it goes too far, absolutely it does when a player is concussed, he's on the ground, he hasn't moved and he's being carted off the ground, you shouldn't be swearing and abusing him, abusing the medical staff.
"Would you take a 10-year-old into that environment?"
Scott said the glut of deliberate out-of-bounds decisions was embarrassing for the competition.
"Someone's told them (the umpires) to do that and as a competition I think we should get to the bottom of who that is," Scott said.
"Someone has told them to interpret that differently.
"I felt desperately for the umpires because in a really hostile environment - there are some idiots in the crowd here - they were under all sorts of pressure because I reckon they were doing what they were told you just can't change the rules mid-year."
Eagles captain Darren Glass said it felt like the rule interpretation had changed slightly.
Hawkins was walking under his own volition at half-time and was later cleared of structural damage.
Geelong led for the first three quarters and threatened their second rousing Friday night win in seven days before running out of gas in the final term.
The Eagles kicked seven of the last 11 goals in a result inspired by the brilliance of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui in the ruck and attack.
They booted five goals between them and dominated the hit-outs 67-25 with Geelong's No.1 ruckman Trent West missing with a knee injury.
Eagles coach John Worsfold said he saw signs that his side could challenge premiership contenders Collingwood and Hawthorn in the final two home-and-away rounds.
"We know what the boys are capable of and we've got a program in place to finish the season off really strongly," Worsfold said.
"Geelong were up and going early.
"They've worked really hard at their starts and they threw every- thing into the game early."We weathered it to a degree."
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