The AFL says its umpires made the right decision not to give Richmond a 50-meter penalty after the Tigers sounded the final siren at 106-100 to the Swan.
Friday night’s match was the subject of controversy when Dion Prestia and the Tigers missed a 50-meter penalty when Swans midfielder Chad Warner fired a whistle for a free kick and the final siren simultaneously removed the ball from the boot.
The decision means Prestia was forced to take an almost-impossible shot from 15 meters outside and not within range but 65 meters near the boundary.
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While it is common for match officials to pay a 50-meter fine for similar violations, umpire John Howarth explained that it would not be fair to charge Warner for a free kick without hearing the whistle.
“She can’t hear, common sense, okay?” Howarth told the Tigers.
On Saturday afternoon, the AFL issued a statement in support of the decision.
The league said in a statement: “The AFL has confirmed that the decision not to award a 50m penalty in last night’s match was correct.”
“Richmond player Prestia was paid for the free kick (by a non-controlling umpire in the middle of the ground) and the siren sounded almost immediately after the free kick was awarded.
The umpires then called for the right not to impose a 50-meter penalty against Swann player Warner, the urgency of the free payment, the sounding of the siren and the kicking of the ball into the crowd.
“This same tactic is often used around the field when umpires do not believe that a player has kicked the ball after hearing the whistle.”
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Shortly after the match, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was asked about the moment, but pointed the finger at himself, allowing the five-goal lead to slip.
“It’s irrelevant. You can see that last incident, but the truth of the matter is we were 30 (33) points higher, the last game was easy to watch, but we should have iced the game,” Hardwick said.
“Seventy-five percent of the time I thought we were pretty good, 25 percent of the laps – especially in the third trimester – were things we thought we could do better.
But on Saturday morning, Hardwick went on Twitter, appearing to be making fun of the umpire’s “common sense” argument for not giving a 50-meter penalty.
“Common sense, sorry, what?” Hardwick tweeted.
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