"That was the difference in the game."
A frustrated Damien Hardwick has refused to blame a controversial decision not to award a 50m penalty after the siren for Richmond’s six-point loss to Sydney at the SCG.
The Tigers trailed by one goal when Dion Prestia was awarded a free kick 65m from goal as the siren sounded, a split second after the whistle had blown.
Swans midfielder Chad Warner gathered the bouncing ball as soon as the siren sounded and booted it into the crowd, which might have resulted in a 50m penalty to Prestia as he was still to take his free kick.
The umpires decided Warner had not heard the whistle and Prestia’s last-gasp kick fell well short of the goal that would have levelled the scores that instead finished 16.10 (106) to 15.10 (100).
“There are people on the ground that make those decisions,” Tigers coach Hardwick said.
“We’re probably the same as everyone else, we weren’t quite sure how it was going to unfold.
“We can look at that last incident but the fact of the matter is we were up by 30 points. It’s easy to look at that last play but we should’ve iced the game.”
The Tigers kicked seven unanswered goals either side of quarter-time to lead by as much as 33 points in the second term before the Swans clawed their way back after half-time.
“For 75 per cent of it I thought we were pretty good, we had a 25 per cent lapse, especially in the third quarter,” Hardwick said.
“There are some things we reckon we could’ve done a little bit better but everyone will always look at the last play and the what-ifs. But the fact of the matter is that when you’re 30 points up, you probably shouldn’t lose.
“(Callum) Mills probably generated a little bit of income for them and we probably didn’t use the ball as well as we’d like in that situation.
“Last quarter, we rectified that and had our chances, we just kicked 3.6 to their six straight and there’s the game.”
Sydney coach John Longmire was also full of praise for co-captain Callum Mills, who spent much of the second half playing as a loose defender after the Tigers had kicked 11 goals from 22 inside 50 entries to half-time.
Mills finished with 20 disposals as his composure around the contests and clean kicking when rebounding out of the backline helped turn the match in the Swans’ favour.
“Millsy played the role well. They were scoring a bit too easily when they kicked seven in a row. We had to pull a lever and change something,” Longmire said.
“Millsy did the role really well. It meant we had to reshuffle our midfield but we were able to do that.”