Footy figures are in the arms over the introduction of the deliberate out-of-bound rule that came into the spotlight during the thrilling preliminary victory of Richmond against Port Adelaide on Friday night.
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After Port dipped four points last season, power star Hamish Hartlett was stopped for deliberately knocking the ball out of play and Kane Lambert used the resulting free kick to get his shot around the body and Richmond’s lead expand to 10.
Under pressure in the Tigers’ front pocket, Hartlett scooped the ball over the boundary line and the referee had no choice but to pay a free one.
“Was it on purpose? Bet it was like that? Great call from the umpire, ”said Brian Taylor on the Channel 7 comment.
“He (Hartlett) had no other intention and I think that’s a pretty obvious choice.”
However, the interpretation of the deliberate out-of-bound rule at Adelaide Oval left many puzzles as to why the referees suddenly went rough in the penultimate game of the season.
The officials punished the players six times for the violation last night, compared to 155 offenses in the last 159 games this season.
Former Crows coach Graham Cornes – father of Port legends Kane and Chad – was one of many in the game to express their frustration.
“On a night when goals are gold, how can we tolerate ridiculous deliberations of boundary considerations?” He wrote on Twitter.
“Who gave the referees this mandate? Both teams were brave, but this modern game needs a serious overview. ”
Former chief referee Peter Schwab also struck. “I have no idea about the referee. Pay womenswear. Difficult game and we understand that, ”he tweeted.
Richmond premier player Xavier Ellis suggested the players were not shown enough indulgence, tweeted, “Last person to touch – free kick. I personally hate it !!! ”
Former Gold Coast Suns player Pearce Hanley added in a since-deleted tweet: “Was that the worst umpire call of the year on purpose or is it just me?”
Footy reporter Sam McClure said the problem with this aspect of office had been brewing for too long and would always boil over at some point.
“We have been ignoring the farce for years that is getting out of control on purpose,” he wrote on Twitter. “And here we are.”
Channel 7 journalist Andrew McCormack said, “You purposely lost the plot out of bounds. Dead set. ”
Australian comedian Dave Hughes said port star Tom Rockliff could have played a piece for the Sherrin to keep it from going out, so Hartlett shouldn’t have been punished.
“Thoughtfully, it was just a bad decision. Rockliff was right there. He chose not to go to ball so it went out of bounds. It is allowed. And yes, it could have cost Port the game, ”said Hughes.
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The seven AFL reporter Tom Browne defended the referees and warned of overreaction after a game, but was nevertheless surprised by the procedure.
“I was surprised by the intentional interpretation last night and don’t know why it was stricter at night (almost the rule of the week), but I felt it was consistent all night,” tweeted Browne.
“It’s a good rule. So I don’t think it’s fair to use an outlier game to argue that the rule is a disaster or something like that. Many aspects of the AFL as a referee are in part or largely subjective. This is one of them.
“I think the referees did a pretty good job and didn’t have a massive impact on the result.”
Buses weigh in
The coaches were unwilling to play the blame game and sympathized with the referees for doing a difficult job in a high pressure situation.
“It’s tough. The game is really hard to judge, ”said Richmond mentor Damien Hardwick.
“I think the consistency level, when we’re happy with it again, as long as it’s consistent, we’ll play with the rules that are there.
“There is probably a pair in the conditions that were a bit difficult, but it’s a high pressure game. The referees are also under great pressure. I thought they did a pretty good job that night. ”
Harbor coach Ken Hinkley refused to associate his team’s problems with the Hartlett call or rule interpretation throughout the game.
“It does not matter. Referees paid it as deliberately out of bounds, I’m not going to judge the referees. It’s a high pressure game for them too, ”said Hinkley.
“It hurts, but we lost the game and it wasn’t a game or part of the game. I never sit there focusing too much on a decision.
“Everyone’s going to do it because it was last quarter and they score a goal from it and it’s a six point lead. But not for me, it’s a tough game to be a referee. ”
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