Honesty in sporting contests is a rarely seen trait when competitive juices are flowing and players are looking for any advantage to get ahead.
On Friday night, Gold Coast Suns star Wil Powell broke the mould against the Western Bulldogs in a moment that left viewers in awe.
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Footy fans and commentators lined up to sing the midfielder’s praises over a superb piece of sportsmanship during his side's tense 7.9 (51) to 6.10 (46) loss to the Dogs.
The moment in question came just before halftime when it looked as though Powell might have prevented the Dogs kicking a goal by getting the slightest touch on the ball before it sailed through the posts.
The umpire called for a score review but Powell could be heard on the TV broadcast telling the goal umpire to award the goal to the opposition because he hadn't got a touch on Patrick Lipinksi's kick.
It was a commendable piece of candidness from the Suns star, which allowed the Dogs to take a slender lead into the main break.
AFL great Nick Riewoldt likened Powell to Aussie cricket legend Adam Gilchrist, who became famous as one of the few players in the sport to walk when he knew he'd been caught out edging the ball.
Viewers joined Riewoldt in praising the Gold Coast defender for his classy act.
“I think Powell’s done an Adam Gilchrist,” Riewoldt said in commentary for Fox Footy.
“I think he’s said, ‘I didn’t touch it’.”
Fellow great Dwayne Russell also praised Powell's honesty, with replays on the incident more than a little ambiguous.
“If you rock and roll it, his finger does do a little bending there," Russell said.
“You have to admire his honesty. The goal stands.”
Need more players with this sportsmanship— Love & Squalor (@lovelysqualor) July 23, 2020
Good man Will. More sports should have Sportsmanlike in them 👏👏👏— Dom Flanagan (@DomFlanaganC300) July 23, 2020
Class act, particularly because they lost by 5 points!!— Beanz (@beanz98) July 23, 2020
Great honesty by Powell.— Webby (@lukeawebb) July 23, 2020
Class act, Wil— David Keshaw (@D_Kersh) July 23, 2020
Dogs scrape home in a thriller
In a cruel twist of fate, however, Powell's refreshing honesty ended up being the difference between the teams, with the Suns going down by five points in a nail-biter.
The Suns fought hard, with Alex Sexton booting three majors, but just could not find the edge to get their noses in front with third-gamer Izak Rankine kicking four behind in the final quarter.
The match was an arm-wrestle throughout as both teams enjoyed periods of dominance but were unable to get away from their opponents.
The Dogs got off to a great start but after the Suns weathered an early barrage, two goals by Sexton put them ahead only for a late Tom Liberatore major to ensure the visitors had a two-point advantage at the first break.
It was the Suns turn to smash the Dogs in the second quarter and exciting first-year player Rankine kicked a sweet set shot but another late goal, this time to Lipinski, left the two-point margin unchanged at halftime.
The third term was a more even affair and it was reflected on the scoreboard as both teams kicked two goals each with the difference remaining at just two points heading into the final term.
Rankine missed a gettable shot early in the fourth quarter which was quickly punished by the Dogs as they pulled clear through back-to-back goals to Ed Richards and Lachlan Young.
The Dogs extended their lead to a game-high 14 points before the Suns struck back with a Ben Ainsworth goal.
Rankine then pulled down a great contested mark but could only kick his fourth behind of the final term, with the Dogs hanging on to claim the win.