‘Farce’: Deliberate decision lashed as Power free kick proves costly
Fans were left bemused by a number of umpiring calls throughout the Port Adelaide and Richmond final, with a number of inconsistent calls.
But it was one specific incident late in the contest that certainly had a bearing on the result, as Richmond were rewarded with a shot on goal from 25 metres out after a deliberate was paid against Port’s Hamish Hartlett.
Watch the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series on Kayo with every game before the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >Preliminary Final
'Deliberate' decides prelim0:46
Lambert kicked true to give the Tigers a lead which the Power weren’t able to catch, after Hartlett knocked the ball over the line.
AFL stats guru Joshua Kay revealed the true extent of the decisions, outlining there had been six deliberates paid in the game, but only 155 were paid across the 159 games prior to the final.
However, both coaches didn’t want to be drawn into speculation over the incident, with consistency the key takeaway.
“It‘s a difficult one. The game is really hard to adjudicate with those ones,” Richmond coach Damien Hardwick told reporters post-game.
“I think the consistency level, if it is we‘re happy with it once again, as long as it is consistent, we will play with whatever rules are out there.
“There‘s probably a couple in the conditions that were a bit tough, but it’s a high pressure game. The umpires are under high pressure as well. I thought they did a pretty good job on the night.
Overseas? Stream the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series from outside Australia on WatchAFL. Every match including the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. Grab your Finals Pass to start streaming >
Lynch cops drink in interview0:35
Asked if the interpretations took him by surprise, Hardwick said “Judging by my reaction in the box probably a couple of times, it did a little bit. But as long as it’s consistent, that‘s OK.”
Port coach Ken Hinkley suggested the moment “hurts”, but wasn’t putting any blame on the umpires for the final score.
“It doesn‘t matter. Umpires paid it as deliberate out of bounds, I’m not going to judge the umpires. It’s a high pressure game for them too,” he said.
“It hurts, but we lost the game and it wasn‘t one play or one bit of the play. I never sit there and get too focused on one decision.
“Everyone will because it was in the last quarter and they kick a goal from it and it‘s a six-point margin. But not for me, it’s a hard game to umpire.”
Former umpires boss Peter Schwab was clear in his criticism on social media, declaring the umpire had “no idea” to pay the free kick.
Retired Gold Coast Sun Pearce Hanley questioned if that was the worst decision of the year in a now deleted tweet, while premiership player Xavier Ellis suggested the game had been umpired like it was a last touch out of bounds rule.
No idea by umpire. To pay DOB. Tough game and we get that— Peter Schwab (@czar_peter) October 16, 2020