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Kane Cornes' crusade against 'flopping' Magpie isn't just disgraceful - it's dangerous

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Roar Guru
3rd August, 2023
4018 Reads

Kane Cornes is fast developing one of the most bombastic reputations in journalism.

Last year, following Collingwood’s Round 1 win over St Kilda, he criticised Jack Ginnivan’s post-match behaviour fooling around with a GoPro. How dare he! Who was Ginnivan, with only a handful of games under his belt at that time, to celebrate so arrogantly?

Cornes led a crusade against Ginnivan’s behaviour, which I could respect if not for one simple fact: it lasted all of four weeks.

Following Jack Ginnivan’s five-goal haul in the Pies’ traditional Anzac Day clash against Essendon, Cornes recanted. He appeared on The Sunday Footy Show with his hair dyed blonde, and jumped on the Ginnivan bandwagon.

What does it say about Cornes if his convictions are so malleable? All it took was one decent performance from Ginnivan. Given our game has plenty of cameo performers, how did Cornes know he hadn’t just been lucky, and would disappear into obscurity?

None of this is intended as a slight on Ginnivan, but an examination of Cornes’ initial condemnation and just how flippant it was.

This year, Cornes declared that high-profile Richmond recruit Tim Taranto wasn’t in the best 150 players in the league. Taranto, who was the second pick in the 2016 National Draft, hadn’t exactly set the world on fire to start his time at the Tigers. Then again, the team itself had gotten off to a rocky start – one that led to their three-time premiership coach, Damien Hardwick, stepping down.


Cornes had, and has, speculated that Richmond have foolishly topped up in a desperate but futile attempt to stay in the premiership window – as the West Coast Eagles and Hawthorn had done following premiership success; and he may have a point.

But somehow, that conflated into his Taranto criticism. The player became an exemplar of why that was wrong.

While Richmond look like they are a middling side, it is through no fault of Taranto, who is flying now to the extent that he has entered the Brownlow Medal conversation.

Cornes might have been right to query Taranto’s output and his ball use, but his claim about where he sat in the AFL hierarchy of best players was outrageous, inflammatory, and unnecessary. You would think that any journalist would have a moral obligation to consider what they voice publicly, and HOW they do it.

Just this week, somebody on Twitter claimed that Nathan Murphy had flopped after being blocked by Carlton’s Matthew Owies.

Cornes re-Tweeted the post with the caption ‘Costing teams goals, and players weeks’.


Cornes is, seemingly, not satisfied with his media pulpit and is openly potting players through social media platforms.

It seems redundant to have to tell Cornes, who played 300 games for Port Adelaide, that as a defender Murphy’s primary role is to stop the opposition kicking goals. Astonishing, I know.

Moreover, we have defenders who scrag, elbow and niggle opponents, who hold and wrestle, but apparently those aspects of the game are sacrosanct and Murphy’s the villain.

On The Sunday Footy Show, Cornes laughably disparaged Murphy for flopping after Willie Rioli had struck him in the Round 19 Port Adelaide-Collingwood clash.

Matthew Lloyd sternly rebuked Cornes, saying he could not believe Cornes was excusing an obvious strike to the face. Yet he still pushed this narrative, ignoring that footage of Murphy after the strike showed him sitting on the grass, dazed.

Murphy had been best afield for Collingwood, but his impact quietened from that point. None of this was taken into consideration.


But let’s not forget that Cornes Tweeted ‘costing… players weeks’.

This must be a reference to the Magpies’ Round 5 clash against St Kilda. Murphy and young Saint Anthony Caminiti were jostling behind play when Caminiti collected Murphy high. He was reported and suspended for three weeks.

Cornes seems to be insinuating with his latest Tweet that this must have also been Murphy flopping. The beauty of this take is the extremes it implies Murphy went to – he not only dived, he was subbed out of the game, and then missed the following week, Anzac Day, under concussion protocols.

You’ve got to love just how far Murphy took this subterfuge to get Caminiti, who admitted he struck Murphy high, suspended.

I have no issues with Cornes voicing his opinions – I actually respect that instead of fence-siting like so many in the media, he has strong views on the game.

But some of these views transcend into shock-jocking. Cornes pushes these barrows and if he gets resistance – as he did on his Taranto outlook – he will double-down like a kid throwing a tantrum insisting his view is right and, by God, you better all get on board or he’s going to screech at the top of his voice until everybody else agrees or, at the very least, stops listening and lets him have his way.


Whether Murphy flops is irrelevant. So many players would exaggerate contact they experience in games. But somehow, Murphy has drawn Cornes’ ire, as if he himself invented the practice.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Consequently (or perhaps that’s ‘Cornesequently’) Cornes has become a lightning rod for others to vilify Murphy, ignoring evidence like his concussion against the Saints, and like appearing dazed after the Rioli hit.

Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good headline. After all, who cares what it does to the player? Look at Ginnivan: last year he was castigated to the extent he suffered mental health issues, and in 2023 has fallen from grace at Collingwood.

Some idiots will no doubt say that Ginnivan was never very good anyway. Well, he kicked 40 goals last year, which is not a bad return for a forward in his first full season who did not earn free kicks that some in the media – such as Gerard Whateley, Leigh Matthews, and even Cornes himself (among others) – professed he deserved. How can anybody believe that the treatment of Ginnivan hasn’t impacted his form this year?

Now Murphy is the target with Cornes, yet again, leading the charge.

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Don’t let the media or the AFL dictate or recontextualise the narrative that Murphy is somehow at fault because he jostles and niggles his opponent behind play. Every defender does. This is not behaviour exclusive to him, as some would idiotically champion.

Rightly or wrongly, this is the standard. If Murphy is flopping, that’s up to the umpires to sort out.

The documentary The Social Dilemma shows that people get a dopamine hit from garnering likes on social media platforms, so that it becomes a constant pursuit, just like a junkie in need of a fix.

The way Cornes goes on at times, I wonder if he keeps chasing that same rush.