AFL world in shock over 'strange' Jacob Hopper incident as touching Clayton Oliver gesture comes to light

Jacob Hopper picked up a hamstring injury in his first game back from a knee injury.

Richmond midfielder Jacob Hopper caused confusion in Wednesday night's defeat to the Melbourne Demons when he appeared distraught after grabbing at his hamstring, only to remain on the field. The 27-year-old clutched at the back of his left leg following a marking contest in the third quarter in what was his first game back from a knee injury.

However, the Tiger refused to immediately be taken off despite his history of soft-tissue injuries. Hopper played on for several minutes, moving gingerly before eventually coming to the boundary line.

Richmond midfielder Jacob Hopper left and pictured with Clayton Oliver right
Richmond midfielder Jacob Hopper caused confusion on Thursday night after appearing distraught after suffering a hamstring injury in his first game back from injury only to remain on the field. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

As Hopper left the field he booted a drink bottle in frustration before heading down the tunnel. The Channel 7 commentary team were left stunned by what transpired, shocked that he didn't come off immediately after he felt his hamstring go.

"He’s really upset. He’s really distraught,” Cameron Ling said. "It’s almost strange that he wouldn’t come down to the bench. He’s clearly done something.

"This is really strange. You can see Hopper grab at his left hamstring manning the mark. He got really upset, he did something there, and he was distraught. You could see his action there, just really disappointed. Amazingly though, he’s stayed in, I have no idea what’s just happened." The AFL world was also stunned by his attempt to continue and prayed that by staying on the field he didn't do any further damage.

Speaking after the game Tigers coach Adem Yze insisted Hopper hadn't exacerbated the problem by staying on the field and believes the injury isn't too serious. "I don't think it made it worse. I think it's one of the first games that he's played with tape on his knee," Yze said.

"We originally thought it was something to do with the tape, whether the tape was too tight or things like that. And he hasn't hurt his hammy before, so he tried to stay out there and run it out.

"I don't think he's made it any worse, but I think the fact that he had the taped knee made it a little bit uncomfortable. Just feel sorry for him, hopefully, it's not a bad one but I think it's just a minor tweak."

As Hopper left the field Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver - a long-time fan and a family friend of the midfielder - went over to comfort the distraught Tiger. Speaking about the moment after the game Oliver told Channel 7 that he has always admired him as both a player and a person.

“In under-18s he was the man, I loved watching him,” Oliver told Channel 7 after the game. “He was an absolute superstar. I didn’t get to play him but I always admired him. He’s a really good fella, fingers crossed. Obviously getting injured is no good so I just wanted to make sure he was alright."


Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin says while he isn't saying Daniel Turner is the answer to Melbourne's attack, he is delighted the risky call to pick the untried forward paid off in their victory over Richmond. Typically a defender, Turner kicked three goals, the first of his four-game career, to help Melbourne score a 43-point win on Wednesday night and keep the Demons firmly in the AFL top-four race.

"We put Daniel forward in the VFL and we liked what we saw and we had a really good discussion about it this week," Goodwin said. "And it really was about some of the attributes that he brings that could help us as a team. He brings an aerial game, he brings air to ground speed and he had impact tonight.

"So for our coaching group, it was a brave call to make and we got our rewards tonight but Daniel knows he's got a lot of work to do. He hasn't played too many games as a forward. So there's still a lot of growth in his game and hopefully we've found one there."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Daniel Turner of the Demons celebrates a goal during the 2024 AFL Round 07 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Melbourne Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Typically a defender, Daniel Turner kicked three goals, the first of his four-game career, to help Melbourne score a 43-point win on Wednesday night.

with AAP