Port Adelaide players left broken, moment will ‘haunt’ Hamish Hartlett

Richmond is through to a third grand final in four years after eliminating Port Adelaide in a nail-biting finish at Adelaide Oval.

It is the first time the Tigers have made consecutive grand finals in 46 years as they broke the Power’s heart with two fourth quarter goals to Kane Lambert.

In one of the tightest preliminary finals in memory there was just two points separating the two teams heading into the fourth quarter.

It was all tied up at half time and Port Adelaide led at quarter-time by just two points.

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When the dust settled after a wild fourth quarter battle the Tigers had secured a spot in the grand final with a 6.10 (46) to (6.4) 40 win.

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Power players, including Stephen Motlop, Brad Ebert and Hamish Hartlett, were spotted in tears at full time.

The Tigers were ecstatic at full time. They now await the winner of Saturday’s second preliminary final between Brisbane and Geelong.

Veteran Ebert led his team off the ground after he appeared to suffer a concussion during a marking contest in the fourth quarter.

Ebert is yet to sign a contract for 2021 and is yet to confirm he will keep playing next season.

Hartlett’s emotion was clear at full time when he crumpled to the ground and buried his head in the turf.

Hartlett had been pinged for deliberately thumping the ball out of bounds — a free kick that allowed Lambert to put the Tigers up by 10 points with 10 minutes to play.

Hartlett had another shocking moment a few minutes later when his inside fifty entry on the back of a 50m penalty that went against Daniel Rioli sailed straight to a group of three Richmond defenders with out a Port forward anywhere to be seen.

“Hartlett has been so good all year and been good tonight, but he’s had a couple of minutes here that are going to haunt him unless Port can get a wriggle on,” Channel 7’s Bruce McAvaney said.

Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall told Fox Footy at full time the Power were guilty of being panicked at times when the game was on the line.

“Port made some bad decisions. And they just couldn’t get through it,” he said.

“They just didn’t handle some of the moments the way they should have. There were signs of panic at times.”

Nick Riewoldt replied: “To say they were panicked would be too harsh, but they would be disappointed”.

Ladhams, who was earlier placed on report for a low blow punch, set-up a grandstand finish when his goal brought Port Adelaide back to within a straight kick with seven minutes left.

But the Tigers sowed their class and held on for a tough win.

Earlier, the Tigers jumped out to a two goal lead in the heated first quarter.

Tempers threatened to boil over in the frenetic first half, with Tigers star Tom Lynch often in the middle of it.

Power young gun Xavier Duursma gave Lynch an extended spray in the second term when he slotted a set-shot and then turned to Lynch to let him know about it.

When Lynch responded Port Adelaide players came from everywhere to bump the star forward.

Port Adelaide’s was reported for a low blow strike on Richmond’s Noah Balta in the first quarter.

Ladhams appeared to punch Balta with a swinging arm as he chased the ball behind play.

The close-fist strike appeared to catch Balta low down in the bread basket and left him bent over, sucking in deep breaths for a few seconds.

At half time Fox Footy commentator Nick Riewoldt said it was “very, very stupid”.

It came after Port defender Hamish Hartlett during the week took a stinging shot at Lynch over his now-infamous hot-head.

“He obviously gets caught up in the emotions of the game probably a bit more frequently than others do,” Hartlett said told FIVEaa radio.

“I guess others are able to control their instinct and reactions perhaps on their emotions a little bit better than what Tom does.

“I think there’d be plenty of people out there that would like to see his season come to an end on Friday night. I’ll leave it at that.”

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Sam Bell

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