MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Damien Hardwick, Senior Coach of the Tigers addresses his players during the 2018 AFL round 10 match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 26, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Damien Hardwick has returned serve at those disgracing defender Alex Rance for a dive against Essendon on Saturday night. He spoke about how the umpires need to govern the rule and how consistency is needed when it comes to calls against diving.

Rance copped a $10,000 fine for a dive which most would call clear ‘staging’ or ‘flopping’. Rance exaggerated a fall against the Bombers in the third quarter of the Dreamtime clash on the weekend, and reactions came in hot on Sunday and Monday.

Kane Cornes referred to the dive as “the worst free kick of the year” and immediately called for Rance to be penalised. Wayne Carey weighed in also saying it “puts a stain on his career”.

Hardwick, as per usual, defended Rance and didn’t hold back when answering those who were bashing Rance in the media.

“We’re always trying to bring a champion down and that’s what I thought this was,” Hardwick told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

“As long as we’ve set the standard now, I’ll find five of those free kicks a game that are over-exaggerated free kicks.

“I was really disappointed in the commentary. He’s a champion of the game and I don’t think we need to be saying it’s a stain on his career.

“I found that really disappointing, and I think there will be a lot of people embarrassed by the commentary if we go back and look at their career.”