THE UMPIRES were influenced by a boisterous Simonds Stadium crowd in Richmond's 14-point loss to Geelong, according to Tiger coach Damien Hardwick who was irked by a favourable free-kick count to the home side.
Hardwick was asked how the Cats' deck compared to other grounds in terms of giving the home side an edge, with no mention of umpires or free kicks in the question.
"The home crowd gets behind them. Have a look at the free-kick count," Hardwick said after the game.
Geelong won that count 28-17, after leading 20-7 at the main break.
Hardwick was then asked if the count concerned him.
"It is what it is. What I will say is you've got a significant home ground advantage. I understand what Chris (Scott) is saying, I'd be playing as many home games here as I can. It is tough to play," Hardwick said.
"They're an outstanding side, but they're an outstanding side plus when it comes to playing here."
He said crowd noise played a part in whether the whistle was blown, and acknowledged it happened everywhere.
"Absolutely. Our Tiger fans are the same when we get back home. It's the lie of the land," Hardwick said.
Regular defender Harry Taylor booted four goals and had the better of triple All Australian Alex Rance.
"Harry was probably the difference today. Rancy had a disappointing day, he's been up for a long time. Sometimes these things happen," Hardwick said.
"Harry had a good day and sometimes champions have a bad day. He had a bad day today, Alex, but he'll bounce back. I've got incredible confidence in him. He'll be disappointed in his performance but he's a professional, he'll get back and play better next week."
Hardwick lamented a loss in the contested possession count by 20, made more disappointing by the Cats missing midfield bull Joel Selwood, who had surgery on his left ankle last Monday.
"The nature of the games down here are highly contested and we didn't hunt the ball anywhere near to the level that we would like," Hardwick said.
Not being accustomed to the ground also contributed to the loss that leaves the Tigers in danger of missing the top four.
It was Richmond's first game at the venue since 2012.
"They obviously play it better, there's no doubt about that. They understand the dimensions of the game. The wind probably added to that as well," Hardwick said.
"Even before the game, we were probably trying to figure out exactly which way it was going. It was blustering both ways. It was like, one quarter we were kicking with it, the next quarter we're still kicking with it. It was a different sort of day, there's no doubt about that."
The Tigers come up against Fremantle at Domain Stadium next Sunday, minus midfielder Josh Caddy, who suffered a left hamstring injury in the opening term.