Richmond have been widely praised for an incredible display of sportsmanship towards departing Essendon star Michael Hurley following his career-ending goal.
Hurley’s last-quarter goal, playing in his first game in more than 700 days, was the only moment of joy for Essendon fans after a torrid week in which Richmond ran out winners 21/15 (141) to 11/9/10 (75) at the MCG .
Hurley kicked really close and was predictably harassed by his team-mates, but then to everyone’s astonishment he came up to the Bombers star in a moment described as “unbelievable” by the entire Richmond team.
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“It was an emotional scene,” Lions big Jonathan Brown said on Fox Footy.
“You would expect his teammates to pass him, but then to see the opposition go down as well, it just shows the respect he has in the football community.
“Really scenes we haven’t seen before. We’ve seen teams run together through the banner before games, but that’s sensational. It just shows how tight the football community is, they’ll go around a brother in need.”
“I think that’s one of the lasting memories of the 2022 season.
Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley was also impressed and praised Richmond’s culture.
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“It also shows Richmond’s class,” he said.
“The way Damien Hardwick has coached this team and the way they’ve gone over the last five or six years, they’re as competitive and as ferocious as anyone when it comes to winning the 50-50 ball.
“But the way they act, they’re grateful for what they are, what makes them different, that they can’t do it without their competition.”
Seven’s commentary team were also impressed with Richmond’s reaction, with both Wayne Carey and Luke Darcy describing it as a “first” in their decades covering footy.
After his team’s win, Richmond veteran Jack Riewoldt said the team discussed how to bypass Hurley in case he scored the lead in the game.
“Oddly enough, I think the backs were saying, ‘Don’t put pressure on him, just let him run in and rip it off’.
“We actually talked about it before the game. You want to play with respect, obviously play hard on a player like that, but then send a champion (away) who has had some really bad times and some good times at the football club.” and of course also because of the injury it was a tough fight.
“He just gave him the respect he fully deserves.
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