Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has lashed out at the AFL's score-review system, describing it as an embarrassment and even sarcastically suggesting a telescope would be a better option.
Young Tiger Jack Higgins was denied what appeared to be a goal early in the third term after a score review overruled the goal umpire's initial call. The goal umpire had judged it to be a goal, but called for a review to check. The footage appeared to confirm that the ball had already crossed the goal-line when Saints ruckman Tom Hickey touched it, but the decision was overturned, sparking more debate about the often maligned camera system.
Tiger Josh Caddy stepped up to kick six goals after forward Jack Riewoldt left the ground concussed.
The Saints booted the next four goals to reverse a 13-point half-time deficit before the Tigers regained control kicking away to a 28-point win at the MCG.
Skipper Trent Cotchin was superb with 32 touches, including 17 contested, while Josh Caddy booted six goals but it was the review system which prompted Hardwick to get animated.
When asked about the review, he replied: "What was the umpire's call?" When told it was a goal, he added: "So, why do we wait? Why don't we just go back to the centre. He has called a goal. We are asked to trust and respect the umpires. How about we back the goal umpire in? Then we go back to the centre. If you haven't figured it out by that stage, just let the game go. Momentum in sport is a wonderful thing. I sit there and I still don't know how it got turned over.
"Seriously, it's an embarrassment to our game. I reckon it really is. The technology is deplorable. What do reckon the technology is going to be like in Alice Springs this week? I look at the Hubble Telescope to give us a fair snap shot."
The Demons host the Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs on Sunday.
The technology is deplorable. What do reckon the technology is going to be like in Alice Springs this week?
The Saints believed they were on the end of a debatable call in the final term when Dustin Martin's snap may have been touched on the goal-line but coach Alan Richardson did not go as far as Hardwick.
"They were confusing today. I think we were probably a little bit lucky on one – it looked like the ball that Hickey had touched had cleared the line. I thought that Logan Austin's looked like that he had clearly touched it. Today, it didn't work. I am not sure whether it's embarrassing or not but it was ineffective today," he said.
The Martin goal early in the final term could not be clarified on review and came back as the umpire's call, which meant it was confirmed as a goal.
The Saints, with only one win and a draw, have greater worries, heading into next week's clash against West Coast in Perth.
Jake Carlisle was reported for striking Jack Riewoldt with a forearm to the head in the first term. Riewoldt was unable to take his free kick, with Caddy converting, and went immediately to the bench, where he was ruled out for the rest of the match with concussion.
Richardson said he had not seen the incident but Hardwick suggested the Saints defender would not have a case to answer.
"Accidents happen in footy for mine. It was just one of those ones. I think it was more that he landed awkwardly that probably caught everyone off guard. I don't think there was anything in that," he said.
Hardwick said Riewoldt would need to pass concussion tests through the week before he could play Essendon on Saturday night.
"He is fine. He is up and about but how it turns out from here, I am not too sure. We will go through the correct protocol," he said.
The Tigers were two down on the bench from late in the second term, with Bachar Houli (groin) joining Riewoldt. Hardwick said "you would presume" Houli would miss next week.
Hardwick was full of praise for Caddy, who dominated at one end of the ground while Saint Jade Gresham also booted six at the other.
"He (Caddy) has been terrific all year. He is one of those players like Dustin (Martin) – he is a double threat. You can play him on ball, push him up forward. He will stand up. We are really pleased that he did. We needed him to," he said.
Richardson said struggling midfielder Jack Billings, with 18 touches, had begun to find touch and his team had taken a "real step forward" in terms of scoring, for the Saints' inaccuracy "had been a real frustration" through the year. They finished with 12.5.
Key forward Paddy McCartin, donning a helmet on his return from concussion, was held goalless by Alex Rance but Richardson said he had worked hard.
"In terms of general forward-line play, I thought Paddy was reasonable," he said.
However, Richardson lamented his team's inability to capitalise on the Tigers being without two of their key men, although the Saints had missed Brandon White for the second half.
"We sensed that opportunity, we spoke about that to the group, that they have got a couple down, and the only way to test that, to challenge that, is to run and ask that question. There were parts of the game where we were able to do that but by and large we weren't able to do that to the extent we would like to," he said.
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