The Roar
The Roar


Hardwick dodges umpiring controversies post Port loss

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9th April, 2021

Coach Damien Hardwick says it’s futile buying into controversial flash points in Richmond’s two-point AFL loss to Port Adelaide.

Port’s Robbie Gray threaded a match-winning set-shot with minutes remaining at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

Gray’s ice-cool 45-metre shot ensured Port prevailed 11.13 (79) to 11.11 (77) to deal consecutive defeats to Hardwick’s Tigers.

Besides kicking the winning goal, Power stalwart Gray was central in two controversies.

In the second quarter, he gathered the ball when clearly out of bounds – but the boundary umpire didn’t whistle and Gray passed to teammate Orazio Fantasia, who scored a goal.

“Did that guy from the first row give it to that guy so he could kick that goal?” Hardwick said.

“It couldn’t be any further out, could it? Anyway… Look, its a hard game to adjudicate but they do a good a job as they can. Yeah, I will leave it at that.”

Damien Hardwick

(Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos via Getty Images)


And after kicking the final goal, Gray was also involved in the final score of the game – a rushed behind to Richmond.

After a goal-square scramble when Tiger Jason Castagna had an air shot attempting to kick a goal, Gray slid in to collect the loose ball and hand-balled it over Richmond’s goal-line.

Tigers players appealed for a free kick – rules state a player can’t deliberately concede a behind when not under pressure from the attacking team.

Gray’s act wasn’t penalised – and Hardwick bit his tongue.

“I could delve into that – but I don’t think there’s any point,” he said.


“I think overall there is a million decisions that happen throughout the course of the game that can go one way or the other.

“That one, for me – it is what it is.”

Hardwick, who played for Port in the club’s only premiership in 2007, also exchanged words with a Power fan after leaving the coaching box but said there was no malice involved.

“That guy was giving me a tissue,” he said.

“I thought, ‘That’s a bit harsh, I have won three out of the last four flags mate, I’m not sure I need a tissue’. But anyway.

“I must admit, this (Adelaide Oval) is a great place to play footy.

“The ground is outstanding… I find myself singing the bloody INXS song when I’m walking out on the ground,” he said, referring to Port’s pre-game anthem, the INXS song ‘Never Tear Us Apart’.