SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Richmond players appeal to AFL Field Umpire, John Howorth for a controversial 50m penalty after the siren which was not awarded during the 2022 AFL Round 11 match between the Sydney Swans and the Richmond Tigers at the Sydney Cricket Ground on May 27, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

While a quick glance at the final score will show that the hometown Sydney Swans proved able to fend off the travelling Tigers by six points in a top-eight battle involving a kick after the bell, but peel the lacquer back, and the result is sure to take a backseat in the minds of the game's many talking heads.

Though John Longmire's mixture of cygnets and drakes were able to fight back from four goals down at half-time to snare just their second victory over a team with September credentials off the back of a Lance Franklin masterclass, it appears that the superstar's right fist, rather than his left boot, will have chins wagging this week.

Ahead of the main break, and with just one of his five majors on the board, the 35-year-old tangled with triple-premiership skipper Trent Cotchin in his attempts to force his way back inside 50.

Given Cotchin's desire to pull at the spearhead's guernsey while standing with his back to goal, Franklin was initially awarded a free kick. However, after letting fly with a pair of right crosses, the ex-Hawk fell foul of adjudicators, with the umpire's first call reversed.

With Cotchin able to play out the remainder of the thriller in spite of the aggravated high contact, it seems certain that Franklin will have a case to answer.

Using the MRO's, at times, cryptic checklist for doling out punishment, the Western Australian can expect to miss Sydney's clash against Melbourne at the MCG next Saturday night, with the secondary shot to Cotchin's chin likely to be graded intentional, high contact and low impact and incur a one-week suspension.

Still, when the dust eventually settled around him, Franklin contended that he couldn't actually recall the tangle in question.

“Mate, I can‘t even remember. I can’t remember it," Franklin deflected to Channel 7 post-game.

Yet, with everyone with even a fleeting interest in the contest having already seen the footage countless times, even if the heat of battle had caused him amnesia, it won't be long before 'Buddy' is reminded ad neuseam.

While the decorated pair's stoush had been the talking point at the half, Franklin and Cotchin had been pushed to the second item on the docket by the time the lights had dimmed on the Sydney Cricket Ground.

With the fast-finishing Swans claiming the lead with mere minutes left on the clock, Richmond was forced to scramble and press to find a route to goal just to split the points.

But after a series of stoppages in front of the Brewongle Stand saw the clock tick closer to nought, it seemed as though the Tigers' valiant efforts to play catch-up would be in vain.

Enter the cast of Dion Prestia, Chad Warner and umpire, John Howarth.

In the milliseconds before the final siren, Prestia was paid a holding free kick some 80-metres out from the goals at the Randwick end.

But after Warner's choice to spiral the ball halfway to Central Station in the fraction of the second between whistle and bell, the AFL's answer to VAR was unveiled.

Under the pressure of several senior members of Richmond's roster, Howarth consulted with off-field officials as to whether, or not, a 50-metre penalty warranted being tacked on to the initial infringement.

Irrespective of his attempts to march Prestia more than half the distance to the posts, Howarth was overruled and the ex-Sun asked to take his kick from within touching distance of the interchange gate.

After falling short, and ironically into the arms of a sheepish Warner, the views of all and sundry attached to the game began to fly.

Yet, in his post-game press conference, Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick was having none of the agenda put forth by revisionists.

“I haven’t. That’s not my job. There’s people on the ground that make those decisions," Hardwick offered when quizzed about whether he had been afforded the chance to study the chain of events that lead to defeat.

“We’re probably the same as everyone else, we weren’t quite sure how it was going to unfold. So I’ll leave that up to you guys to find out and figure out.

“It’s irrelevant (what I think should’ve happened) … We can look at that last incident, but the fact of the matter is we were up by 30 points. It’s easy to look at the last play, but we should’ve iced the game.”

Despite the nature of the loss, Richmond currently remains in the precarious position of eighth, both a game outside of the top-four and a single loss away from sitting outside of September contention.

The seasoned side will next earn an opportunity to recommence a winning run when they face Port Adelaide at the MCG next Thursday night.