Hardwick wants AFL umps to get tough

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is keen for AFL umpires to get tougher on the deliberate rushed behind rule – and it’s not only because it helped his side beat the Dockers on Saturday night.

The Tigers made it two wins on the trot with a 38-point win over Fremantle in wet and wild conditions at Domain Stadium.

One of the big talking points to come out of the match was the controversial decision of umpire Ray Chamberlain to penalise Lee Spurr for deliberately rushing a behind.

Richmond forward Ben Griffiths was hot on the heels of Spurr when the Dockers defender soccered the ball through for a rushed behind from 15m out.

Chamberlain deemed Spurr wasn’t under enough pressure to get away with rushing a behind, thus gifting Griffiths an easy goal and giving Richmond a 14-point lead early in the second quarter.

The AFL will consider tightening the rule next year to make it harder for defenders to rush behinds, and Hardwick is supportive of the move.

“Look, Im all for it,” Hardwick said.

“It keeps the game alive as much as it can.

“The interpretation is always going to be a bit vague. If you kick or handball the ball though, maybe that’s easier (to penalise).

“I think the deliberate out of bounds has been fantastic for the game (as well).

“It’s probably one of those ones that will take some getting used to, but I think the over-riding concept is really good.”

Richmond’s second win on the trot keeps them within striking distance of the top eight.

And with games against Essendon, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Port Adelaide to come over the next five rounds, Richmond have an excellent chance to make a charge up the table.

Skipper Trent Cotchin was brilliant against the Dockers, tallying a career-high 39 disposals in his first match back from a fractured cheekbone.

“He was keen to play last week but the surgeon put a full stop to that pretty quickly,” Hardwick said.

“But 18 contested possessions – he puts his head in the hole – that’s exactly what we want from our skipper.

“His season has gone from strength to strength.”

Richmond big man Ty Vickery faces a nervous wait after being reported for striking Nick Suban.

However, with the severity of the contact being minimal, Vickery is a strong chance to escape suspension.

Vickery tallied just two disposals and 0.1 in a disappointing display, but Hardwick backed the 25-year-old to rebound strongly in Saturday night’s clash with Essendon at the MCG.

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