Damien Hardwick speaks to his players during Gold Coast's clash against Carlton in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

DAMIEN Hardwick has urged umpires to blow the whistle quicker or risk players being put in "compromising positions" following Gold Coast's 29-point loss to Carlton on Saturday.

Hardwick was miffed that just four free kicks were paid for holding the ball in a game where 131 effective tackles were laid.

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Gold Coast's coach was not the only one confused by some of the umpiring, with Carlton counterpart Michael Voss saying he would "follow up" some decisions with the AFL next week.

But it was Hardwick who was strongest in his queries, saying player safety was potentially being jeopardised.

"We've just got to get on top of this," he said.

"The players owe each other a duty of care, but as umpires we've got to blow the whistle earlier.


"They're putting players in a really compromising position that they could get hurt, and we don't want that."

Hardwick used an example where Mac Andrew had Charlie Curnow's arm pinned, with the Blue standing for a lengthy period of time before slinging the ball on to his right boot.

"That is a very, very dangerous situation for both players," he said.

"We've got to look at it, we've got to coach it. 


"I know it's incredibly hard, but from a player's health and wellbeing point of view, we've just got to make sure, for the benefit of the game, we look after the players."

Hardwick conceded umpiring was a "bloody tough" job, but said in this instance a free kick or ball up had to be called quicker.

"What we do about it, I'm not too sure. It's incredibly challenging. We've got to look at it," he said.


Voss said philosophically he agreed with Hardwick's stance, saying players and umpires could make the environment safer.

The Carlton coach had his own questions though following a strong triumph, with the Blues losing the free kick count 16-11, which at one stage was 13-3.

Although reluctant to elaborate on his areas of concern, Voss said he would "follow some up".

"I don't say that often," he said.

"We've got some things to follow up. Clearly, we're not getting it right or we're educating it wrong.


"We've got a couple of things to follow up, just to make sure we have clarity as well that we're seeing it the same way.

"It's our responsibility to get clarity when we're unsure, and we're unsure. I'll wait and hold, and we'll do the right channels as well. 

"It's about taking our time, have a look through the vision and be really clear. We've always had really good discussions, so I can't see that changing. 

"We'll probably just seek a little more feedback this week than what we normally have."


Voss was delighted with the win, saying his team also had some positional success with four goals from Zac Williams as a forward and a solid performance from Lachie Cowan (19 disposals) at half-back.

Small forward Jesse Motlop, who is yet to play a senior game this year, successfully got through the VFL on Saturday after overcoming a hamstring injury.

Voss said it was a run Motlop "absolutely needed" and could now be considered for AFL level.

Sam Flanders was a late out for Gold Coast, with Hardwick revealing he had been battling illness for a few days.

"We flew him in late, thought he might be OK, he thought he'd be OK as well, but then just wasn't feeling very well this morning," he said.

Hardwick said he expected the half-back to be right for next week.