Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he's had a conversation with key defender Steven May following his staging act during Saturday's win against North Melbourne.

May was seen clutching at his head (without contact to the ground) prompting the umpire to award a free kick to the Demons for a dangerous tackle.

The former Sun was fined $1,875 but calls for a much larger penalty have been made by commentators.

However, Goodwin has leapt to the defence of May, saying that suggestions he was a "cheat" were far past fair.


“I think there's been enough focus on Steven for me to have the conversation with him,” Goodwin said on Tuesday.

“I don't think he's the first player to ever try and get a free kick given to him, so clearly he's a bit embarrassed by the situation but I think some of the talk has been a bit much.

“If you know Steven's character and his competitiveness … he plays the game to the highest level, and I think one of the things that's been missed from the weekend is his game on Nick Larkey.”

Goodwin attempted to explain May's reason for doing so but alluded to the fact that other players have tried to manipulate the umpires into a free kick.

“I think it's a very long bow to draw in this situation. Clearly, Steve was trying to get some delay in the game and a free kick,” Goodwin said.

“I'm sure he's not the first person to feign for a free kick and get given one, but clearly, it's an embarrassing situation when it gets called out for staging in the public forum.

“I guess when you get called out like this, you're probably not going to do it (again).”

Jake Lever during Melbourne's open training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne in 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

In more positive news, the Demons are set to welcome back fellow key defender Jake Lever, who has been battling a knee injury.

Lever has been out of the side since the Round 10 loss to West Coast but Goodwin assured his ready to go, pending he gets through training.

“(Lever) just needs to get through training. He's done all the match loads the last few weeks and he's done all the training possible, so it's just getting through today's session and he'll be on the plane up to Brisbane,” Goodwin said.

“It's going to be great to get one of our leaders back – he's a really important player to us and obviously helps the back half of the ground.

“(Brisbane) are an incredibly high-scoring team at the moment, they're very dynamic ahead of the ball … so to get an experienced defender back that will help us not only play on one of those guys but help set the field up in a way defensively that's very important for us.”

Christian Salem is also expected to line up on Friday after experiencing knee soreness last week.