'That's harsh': AFL coach sledges fan after being 'confronted'

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick (pictured) turning back to respond to a fan.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick (pictured) appeared to get in a sledging match with a fan. (Image: Fox Sports)

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has hit back at a fan who 'confronted' him following Richmond's tough loss to Port Adelaide.

Port's Robbie Gray threaded a match-winning set-shot with minutes remaining at Adelaide Oval on Friday night to sink the Tigers.

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Gray's ice-cool 45-metre shot ensured Port prevailed 11.13 (79) to 11.11 (77) to deal consecutive defeats to Hardwick's outfit.

But Hardwick was in no mood to cop any sledging from fans, which was picked up on camera following the match.

The Tigers coach was walking down from the coaches box when he appeared to be 'confronted' by a fan.

Hardwick appeared to stop and say 'sorry?' before smiling, responding and walking off.

“He’s been, I think confronted by a fan. He doesn’t react at all so we’ll see whether there’s any fallout of that. Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph said on Fox Footy.

"It’s clearly not the time to be insulting or making comments of people."

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Brisbane Lions great Jonathan Brown pointed out it was silly having a go at Hardwick, considering he is a Port champ.

“Mate, he’s a Port Adelaide premiership player! A bit of respect!” Brown added.

After the match, Hardwick was pressed on the incident and said he hit back at a fan after a sledge.

“A guy was giving me a tissue. I thought jeez, that’s a bit harsh. We’ve won three of the last four flags, mate, not sure whether I need a tissue. Anyway,” he said.

Port Adelaide sink Richmond

Besides kicking the winning goal, Power stalwart Gray was central in two controversies.

In the second quarter, he gathered the ball when clearly out of bounds - but the boundary umpire didn't whistle and Gray passed to teammate Orazio Fantasia, who goaled.

"Did that guy from the first row give it to that guy so he could kick that goal?" Hardwick said.

Ollie Wines (pictured right) handballs to a teammate during the round four AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Richmond Tigers.
Ollie Wines (pictured right) handballs during the round four AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Richmond Tigers at Adelaide Oval on April 09, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

"It couldn't be any further out, could it? Anyway...

"Look, its a hard game to adjudicate but they do a good a job as they can. Yeah, I will leave it at that."

And after kicking the final goal, Gray was also involved in the final score of the game - a rushed behind to Richmond.

After a goal-square scramble when Tiger Jason Castagna had an air-shot attempting to soccer a goal, Gray slid in to collect the loose ball and handballed it over Richmond's goal-line.

Tiger players appealed for a free kick - rules state a player can't deliberately concede a behind when not under pressure from the attacking team.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick points and speaks to his players in Adelaide, Australia.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick speaks to his players in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Gray's act wasn't penalised - and Hardwick bit his tongue.

"I could delve into that - but I don't think there's any point," he said.

"I think overall there is a million decisions that happen throughout the course of the game that can go one way or the other.

"That one, for me - it is what it is."

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