Eagles premiership forward Jamie Cripps has revealed the critical free kick he gave away in the dying stages of Saturday’s game against the Bombers was an act of retaliation. 

Teammate Jake Waterman had marked the ball inside 50 and was preparing to take a set shot which could have gotten West Coast over the line. 

After helping Waterman stand back up, a scuffle between Cripps and several Essendon players broke out which saw Cripps shove Nic Martin to the ground. 

Speaking on Sports Breakfast, Cripps explained the action was a response to him being punched in the chin.

“We let them get us in front in the first quarter there but we bought it back and played some good footy and kept it in our forward half,” he said.

“So disappointing in the end. The free kick, I gave away, was probably not the right time to do it. 

“I just reacted to him actually punching me in the chin first and then I reacted off that. 

“It’s a bit disappointing and not real happy with myself, but you’ve to move on. It’s only a game of footy.”

Following the incident, Essendon kicked two behinds, while Jack Williams kicked one more goal to put West Coast one goal behind at the final siren.

On Monday evening, coach Adam Simpson shed light on the abuse players receive online through social media, calling for more support from the AFL in this space. Simpson also revealed there were instances in which the club got police involved. 

Cripps, who faced online abuse following Saturday’s act against Martin, says he noticed it but doesn’t give it much attention. 

You definitely see it. I got a fair bit of it on the weekend. One act sort of sets everyone off,” he said.

“I don’t read too much into it or listen to too much of it. It’s just some keyboard warriors that get behind the computer and can type whatever they want and no consequences.

“If that’s what they want to do in their lives, they can go ahead and do it. I just think they’re scum really.”

The 32-year-old isn’t the first player this season to come under fire on social media. Earlier this season, Docker Jordan Clark also copped a barrage of abuse following Fremantle’s loss against Carlton after giving away a free kick for dissent.

In a similar trend, young Eagle Harley Reid, just seven games into his AFL career, has also received similar social media attention, Cripps revealed 

Cripps says social media’s rapid growth has resulted in more online abuse. He also expressed concerns over losing players from the game as a result. 

“It’s a hard one because social media is so big now and it’s definitely changed a lot over the last few years and it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

“The young boys are well trained and all over it but you always get the people that go that little bit too far. Harley gets a lot of it over his short career already.

“It’s not on and we need to stop it, otherwise you’re going to lose some good players out of the game from copping it so much.”