AFL world responds to Lions defender Noah Answerth’s ‘childish’ mocking of Harrison Petty’s tears

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The AFL world has responded after Lions defender Noah Answerth reignited a two-year-old feud by mocking the crying of Melbourne player Harrison Petty on Thursday night.

Petty, 24, had an emotional reaction during a game against Brisbane in 2022 after Lions captain Dayne Zorko told him something along the lines of, “I hope your mother dies”, according to the Herald Sun.

Petty was seen in tears after the incident with Zorko later apologising for the sledge which he clarified wasn’t “unprovoked”.

The Lions captain has now criticised his 24-year-old teammate Answerth for bringing the ugly incident back into the frame during the Lions’ 22-point win over the Demons at the MCG.

“I’ll probably go have a word with him. That’s not the way we want to win,” the Lions veteran said on ABC radio.

The incident occurred after Petty missed a shot on goal in the fourth quarter, his first disposal of the game.

Answerth responded by pretending to cry while rubbing his eyes to mock his opponent.

You can watch the incident in the video above

“Is this Answerth, with the history that’s gone on between these guys, saying to Petty are you a crybaby?” Brian Taylor asked in commentary.

“Players don’t forget, do they?”

”Yep that was it. That was the big incident a couple of years ago that wasn’t resolved until after the match,” Dale Thomas said.

“Lachie Neale talked about keeping receipts. That’s obviously another one.”

Answerth’s mocking of Petty sent the footy world into overdrive with many experts critical of the Lions defender for tearing open an old wound.

“Zorko apologised for the initial sledge regarding Petty’s mother in 2022, said he needed to be a better leader. The Demons had sledged Zorko too that night. Then Linc McCarthy mocked Petty for his tears late in 2022. Now Answerth. Why drag yourself into it with the win sealed?” News Corp AFL journalist Jon Ralph wrote on X.

“Noah Answerth taking the piss out of Harrison Petty for getting upset up at the Gabba a couple of years back? Pretty childish effort, I reckon,” sports journalist Rohan Connolly wrote.

“I’ll just leave this here for those who reckon no one cares. Reckon the former captain saying ‘not the way we want to win’ probably indicates that enough people actually do care about sportsmen conducting themselves with a bit of grace and class. Cheers.”

News Corp journalist Lachlan McKirdy wrote: “Yeah, this isn’t great from Answerth. Zero need for it.

“For anyone questioning this, even his own teammate said it was wrong.”

Sports journalist Mark Gottlieb called it a “terrible look from Answerth”.

“I bet there’s a lot of people at the Lions who are nooooot gonna be happy they have to talk about all this crap again. It was dead and buried. Dragging it up is dumb!”

Veteran sports broadcaster Pat Welsh wrote: “Why Noah Answerth has felt the need to rekindle this is completely beyond me.”

Meanwhile Melbourne defender Jake Lever was also critical of the act saying “I don’t think it’s part of the game now”.

“He had a tough time up there a few years ago and as a player, you don’t know what others are going through. I think footy’s cleaned up that sort of act.”

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This is the second time the Lions have mocked Petty over his tears.

During the sides’ 2022 semi-final, Lions forward Lincoln McCarthy similarly pretended to cry while he and Petty were battling it out.

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he wasn’t aware of the altercation and wouldn’t offer his opinion.

“I didn’t see it, what happened? Probably ask Fages (Chris Fagan) when he comes in, that’s up to them,” Goodwin said.

Lions coach Chris Fagan also claimed he had not seen the incident and did not comment further.

Fagan said it was one of the side’s best performances he could remember as he heaped praise on their ferocious tackling pressure in co-captain Lachie Neale’s milestone game.

“I feel like that’s one of the best games we’ve played in a long time,” he said.

“That was a pretty special sort of effort I think, particularly in Lachie Neale’s 250th.”

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