The umpires baffled both coaches.
But Hawthorn’s Alastair Clarkson and Port Adelaide’s Ken Hinkley say they won’t be overly critical of some bewildering calls in their Thursday night AFL fixture.
“Whether it was for Hawthorn or against Hawthorn … there was just a patch there where not too many on the ground knew why the free kicks were getting paid,” Clarkson said after the Hawks’ 22-point win at Adelaide Oval.
Clarkson partly blamed himself for stoking the fires with his pre-game comments which questioned Port’s ability to handle Hawthorn’s physical style.
“They (umpires) knew this game was going to be pretty hot. I probably added fuel to the fire yesterday with some of my comments,” he said.
He said AFL was incredibly hard to umpire.
“Our game is the most complex and difficult game in the world,” Clarkson said.
“I can only imagine because it’s so hard to play and coach, it must be really bloody tough to umpire.
“And we have got to tip our lids off to them really, they do a marvellous job.
“But like anything, you sit and wonder `geez, why did he handball there, or why did he kick it there’ – well, sometimes you wonder why did the umpire make that decision.
“But by and large they do a pretty good job for our code.”
Hinkley said both teams were confused by the officiating.
“Not just our team. It wasn’t just our way or against,” Hinkley said.
“The umpires have a tough job, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s some clarity in some things which would be nice.
“It’s a challenge. It’s a fierce contest. They umpire what they see and sometimes they might not always get it right but I don’t think that is deliberate in any way, it just happens.
“I won’t be having a crack at umpires because I think they do a great job.
“But it’s a hard game to umpire, it’s as simple as that.”