Ayres gives fans finger

HOT UNDER THE COLLAR: Gary Ayres could attract the attention of the AFL this week after raising his middle finger at a Cats fan at Skilled Stadium yesterday. Photo: TONY KERRIGAN  
Monday, July 29

ADELAIDE coach Gary Ayres is certain to come under the AFL microscope this week for his insulting gestures to Cats fans after his side's three point win at Skilled Stadium yesterday.

The former Geelong coach raised his middle finger at a Cats fan at half time and then, at the final siren, television coverage showed the Crows' coach and other officials venting their feelings to Geelong supporters sitting outside their coaches' box in the Charles Brownlow Stand.

Three final-quarter goals from Adelaide skipper Mark Ricciuto stole the 15.3 (93) to 12.18 (90) victory for the Crows over Geelong, ending the Cats' seven game winning streak.

The emotions of a Geelong loss spilled into the crowd with many supporters hurling abuse at Ayres, some even banging the windows of the Crows' glass box during the game.

Using his post match press conference to vigorously defended himself, an unrepentant Ayres also took a swipe at the local crowd saying he had been incited all day.

``I don't mind anyone paying their money if they want to come and watch footy, but when they actually embarrass themselves with some of the crap they talk, I don't care who you are,'' the Crows' coach said.

``Whatever happens, happens, more or less . . . . those people know who they are. You embarrass yourselves with crap that comes out of your mouths.

``You've got to expect it sometimes - it happened last time as well - but I'm pretty thick-skinned.

``I'm certainly smiling to myself right here and now . . . . I think you've always got that right of reply.''

The AFL has taken a strong stance against insulting behaviour this season, with the Western Bulldogs' Nathan Brown fined $5000 and Port Adelaide's Chad Cornes docked $3000 for making offending signs during ``When you get the glass being banged on and people question your parentage . . . . I think again you've got some cause to say you disagree with what they are saying.''

When asked if Ayres would also feel embarrassed about his reaction to the fans' baiting,'' he responded: ``If we're going to start - why don't we talk about the game? What do you want me to say, pal? Do you want another headline to write for your paper?''

Geelong chief executive Brian Cook described the incidents as ``unfortunate''

``That's the way it goes in footy,'' he said last night.

``I'm not saying it's right, but it does happen. We just have to make sure people like our coaches and ourselves take it on the chin.''


When asked what the league would think of his gestures, Ayres said:

``They probably won't be (happy) but life goes on.