Fresh off a second straight loss for the Richmond Tigers, Damien Hardwick revealed he was met with a tissue from a fan at Adelaide Oval.
The Fox Footy team pointed out the “confrontation” after Port Adelaide’s 11.13 (79) to 11.11 (77) win over the Tigers on Friday night.
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It came as Hardwick was making his way onto the field after the two-point loss with a fan’s comment catching his ear.
He stopped momentarily and appeared to say “sorry?” to the fan before laughing off the incident as he said something while he walked away.
His security detail stopped to talk to the man but Hardwick appeared to brush it off.
The footage made it onto Fox Footy with Herald Sun journo Jon Ralph praising how Hardwick dealt with the fan.
“He’s been, I think confronted by a fan,” he said. “He doesn’t react at all so we’ll see whether there’s any fallout of that. It’s clearly not the time to be insulting or making comments of people.”
Brisbane great Jonathan Brown pointed out that Hardwick played the last three years of his career, including bowing out with the 2004 Premiership, with Port.
Hardwick was traded to Port Adelaide in 2002, finishing his 207 game career with 54 games for the side.
“Mate, he’s a Port Adelaide premiership player! A bit of respect!” Brown said.
“That is a great point Browny,” Nick Riewoldt laughed.
Melbourne great Garry Lyon added: “Well handled Dimma, by the way.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Hardwick laughed off the incident and revealed the fan offered him a tissue.
“A guy was giving me a tissue. I thought jeez, that’s a bit harsh. We’ve won three of the last four flags, mate, not sure whether I need a tissue. Anyway,” he said.
The journalist added: “He’s probably the same bloke who was cheering you a few years ago.”
Hardwick laughed before adding: “This is a great place to play footy. The ground is outstanding. I find myself singing the bloody INXS song as I’m walking out on the ground, which is never a great sign. The Port crowd are fantastic. I think they do a great job supporting their boys and our Tiger fans do exactly the same. Couldn’t pick a better place to play I reckon, it’s a pretty impressive stadium, great crowd as well.”
Speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack Ben Dixon said “What a response” while Nick Dal Santo said “there was a little nibble”.
Port Adelaide held their nerve to claim a thrilling 11.13 (79) to 11.11 (77) victory over the Tigers, who suffer a second consecutive defeat.
The lead was exchanged on seven occasions throughout the match, but Robbie Gray’s clutch goal in the dying minutes was enough to secure the win for Port.
It’s back-to-back losses for the defending premiers with Hardwick continuing to stick by his guns that he’s not worried about the rule changes making the Tigers’ systems obsolete.
“I don’t think the game has changed, I think the game always looks different at the start of the year compared to the middle compared to the back-end,” he said post-game. “It’s whether the game styles are sustainable for some teams that are playing a kick-mark sort of game. It challenged us last week, the Swans were outstanding. I loved the way the game was played tonight. I thought it was a great contest, the ball was moving quickly, I thought it was a great game of footy.”