Shai Bolton erred in taunting opponent Sam Docherty before scoring an important goal in Richmond’s narrow AFL win over Carlton, Tigers manager Damien Hardwick has claimed.
Bolton caused controversy early in the final quarter of Thursday night’s match at the MCG when he held the ball in the air past the pursuing Blues defender as it ran into an open goal.
It was the first major of last season in a fiery contest, but Bolton’s premature celebration nearly came back to bite him at the back as the Tigers rose to a late challenge and hung on to win by 15 points.
“It’s not us, it’s not our purpose and he will regret that, there’s no doubt about it,” Hardwick said.
“He will be responsible and responsible for it.
“It’s definitely not part of who he is and who we are.
“We’re disappointed but we’ll push through and support him and he’ll learn some great lessons.
“It’s not a great look.”
The incident apparently stems from an exchange between Bolton and Docherty during a three-quarter scrum, which erupted when Patrick Cripps opposed a push from Dion Prestia which caused the Blues skipper to hit his head on the leg of teammate Sam Walsh.
The majority of players from both sides rushed to rematch as tension mounted between the traditional rivals.
Hardwick said Bolton’s action was likely due to frustration after his previous confrontation with Docherty.
“Yeah, probably, but the reality is, that’s football,” Hardwick said.
“One of the things we always want to do is honor our competition and this (action) goes against that.”
Carlton coach Michael Voss attempted to play a straight bat when asked about Bolton’s decision to taunt Docherty.
“I wouldn’t even dream of coaching a player from another team,” Voss said.
“It’s up to Dimma (Hardwick) to take care of that and I’ll take care of my own players.
“I’m pretty firm on that.
“If he feels (the action is) adequate, well, that’s fine, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”