Hardwick’s stylish response to the 50m penalty controversy

A frustrated Damien Hardwick refused to blame a controversial decision not to award a 50m penalty after the siren of Richmond’s six-point loss to Sydney at SCG.

The Tigers were trailing by one goal when Dion Prestia was awarded a free-kick 65m from goal as the siren sounded, a fraction of a second after the whistle.

Swans midfielder Chad Warner picked up the bouncing ball as soon as the siren sounded and threw it into the crowd which could have resulted in a 50m penalty for Prestia as he had yet to shoot his free kick.

Referees ruled Warner hadn’t heard the whistle and Prestia’s final kick was well short of the goal that would have leveled the scores which instead ended 16.10 (106) at 15.10 (100).

“There are people on the pitch who make those decisions,” Tigers coach Hardwick said.

“We’re probably like everyone else, we weren’t sure how it was going to turn out.

“We can watch that last incident, but the thing is, we were ahead by 30 points. It’s easy to watch that last game, but we should have frozen the game.

The Tigers scored seven unanswered goals either side of the quarter to lead up to 33 points in the second term before the Swans came back after halftime.

“75% of it, I thought we were pretty good, we were 25% behind, especially in the third quarter,” Hardwick said.

“There are some things that we think we could have done a little better, but everyone will always look at the last play and the assumptions. But the thing is, when you’re 30 points ahead, you probably shouldn’t to lose.

“(Callum) Mills probably generated a bit of income for them and we probably didn’t use the ball as well as we would like in this situation.

“Last quarter we rectified that and had our chances, we just threw 3.6 in their six straight games and here’s the game.”

Sydney manager John Longmire also praised co-captain Callum Mills, who spent much of the second half playing as a loose defender after the Tigers scored 11 goals from 22 inside 50 entries at halftime.

Mills finished with 20 eliminations as his composure around contests and clean kicking when rebounding off the baseline helped turn the game in favor of the Swans.

“Millsy played the part well. They were scoring a little too easily when they hit seven in a row. We had to pull a lever and change something,” Longmire said.

“Millsy played the role very well. It meant we had to revamp our midfield, but we were able to do it.


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