Hardwick can cop umpires, but not the draw - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hardwick can cop umpires, but not the draw

Roger Vaughan 02/04/2011 01:18:32 PM Comments (0)

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick will excuse the umpires, but don't talk to him about a moral victory after Friday night's AFL draw.

While the Tigers were outstanding for extended periods against St Kilda in a match Richmond were expected to lose, Hardwick said they should have capped it with the win.

There were several controversial umpiring decisions in the frenetic closing stages, particularly a free kick against defender Luke McGuane for a deliberate rushed behind.

Nick Riewoldt goalled from the free to tie the scores, one of four times that happened in the last quarter.

"My headset was mystified by the reaction it got," Hardwick joked.

"It was a tough, tough game of footy to umpire and I thought they did a pretty good job.

"(The umpire) probably made a mistake (with the McGuane free), but we move on."

Hardwick said he was proud of his team's effort, but admitted their inability to win showed there was still plenty of room for improvement.

He noted Saints small forward Stephen Milne kicked 4.7, including missing the last set shot of the game, where Milne normally would have kicked a match-winning 7.4.

Even though Richmond are coming from 15th last season, Hardwick put a hard mark on Friday night's result.

"It feels like a loss, we're really disappointed," he said.

"From where we've come from, people would think it's as good as a win, but it's unacceptable ... we should have won.

"Our guys, they have this insatiable hunger, they want to win.

"They've been down for a long, long time.

"They're tired of being down the bottom."

McGuane is certain to face suspension for his high hit on Farren Ray in the second term.

The only factor in McGuane's favour is Ray quickly recovered from the contact and clearly was not hurt.

Star forward Jack Riewoldt was subbed out of the game after his concussion early in the first term.

He argued with Richmond support staff at quarter-time and whileon the bench early in the second term, but Hardwick defended Riewoldt's behaviour.

"That's his passion, that's why he's a good player - he's a passionate kid," Hardwick said.

"The doc made a good call, at the end of the day he wasn't right to come back on."

The coach also praised Brett Deledio and Matt White for their superb performances.

Deledio shut down Brendon Goddard, while White also kept Montagna quiet until the last term.

"'Lids' was sensational on Goddard - Goddard has literally tore us a new one probably the last three times we've played, sorry for the language," Hardwick said.

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