Richmond Tigers small forward Jake Aarts appeared to deactivate his Instagram account after coming in for heavy criticism from social media trolls following the Tigers’ narrow loss to North Melbourne on Saturday night.
Aarts found himself in the firing line after a late brain-fade cost the Tigers a last-ditch shot at victory.
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With less than a minute remaining in the contest and Richmond trailing by four points, Aarts was left untracked as he made a run inside 50.
Noah Cumberland picked out Aarts, who claimed an uncontested mark 40 metres from goal.
However, rather than setting-up for an attempted game-winning kick at the siren, Aarts decided to play on.
North Melbourne’s Bailey Scott applied enough pressure to force Aarts to handball, before he received the ball back from a Tigers teammate and fired a hurried kick towards the goal square that was knocked through by the Kangaroos for a rushed behind.
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) July 16, 2022
Interesting decision by Aarts to play on! #AFLNorthTigers
— Rohan Connolly (@rohan_connolly) July 16, 2022
Speaking after the contest, Richmond head coach Damien Hardwick refused to lay the blame squarely on Aarts, saying the Tigers had a plethora of other opportunities they failed to capitalise on during the contest.
“Until you’re in that situation, you don’t know,” Hardwick said. “Unfortunately, he probably made a decision that if he had his time again, he’d take back, but the reality is he made it, so we move on.
“There were numerous reasons (we lost). The last defensive-end goal was poor ... you can’t let a guy (Zurhaar) come from the other side of the pack and just stroll through.
“It was ridiculous, and probably sums us up, really. It’s Richmond killing Richmond at the moment.”
However, despite the reasoned support of his Premiership-winning coach, Aarts still found himself the target of armchair experts looking for a scapegoat to blame the disappointing defeat to the competition’s cellar dwellers on.
Aarts wisely opted to silence the trolls by deactivating his Instagram account, which was still offline at the time of writing.
I sincerely hope that Jake Aarts stays off social media tonight. He's no doubt feeling bad enough at the moment. He doesn't need to see the messages idiots are sending him.
— Patrick Gray (@PatrickM_Gray) July 16, 2022
Jake Aarts had to delete his Instagram account due to the abuse. No one should have to cop that. It’s so wrong 😢
— sarah (@sares273) July 16, 2022
Kangaroos hold on against fast-finishing Tigers
Earlier, North Melbourne had blown a 32-point half-time lead, with a number of questionable mistakes of their own allowing the Tigers back into the contest.
Aarts’ chance to snatch victory only came after the Kangaroos squandered a golden opportunity seconds earlier.
Roos forward Curtis Taylor marked just outside 50, but also inexplicably chose to play on, hammering his kick over the head of unmarked teammate Luke Davies-Uniacke and through for a behind.
The crazy finish left many pundits questioning both teams’ game awareness and calmness under pressure.
Oh my goodness. Immense pressure at Marvel.
The lack of game state knowledge…. 🤯
Roos get the win though!#AFLRoosTigers
— Jude Bolton (@Jude_Bolton) July 16, 2022
Wowee. Unreal last five minutes. Some of the weirdest under-pressure decision-making I've seen. #AFLNorthTigers
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshMedia) July 16, 2022
What just happened?! 🦘🦘
— Nat Yoannidis (@NatYoannidis) July 16, 2022
The victory ended a 14-game losing streak for North Melbourne, who sacked their head coach David Noble during the week.
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