Richmond's Tom Lynch continues to tread a fine line

Richmond's Tom Lynch and St Kilda's Dougal Howard clash during the semi-final. Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Richmond's Tom Lynch and St Kilda's Dougal Howard clash during the semi-final. Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

The Richmond forward is doing himself, and his club, no favours with his behaviour

As a key forward with a physical presence, Tom Lynch is always treading a fine line. Lynch's latest indiscretion occurred during the Tigers' semi-final win over St Kilda last Friday night.

After giving away a 50-metre penalty, the spearhead dropped his left knee on the shoulder of Saints defender Dougal Howard in the third quarter.

Post-match his coach Damien Hardwick dismissed the incident as "miniscule", but no doubt he would not have been as flippant if his forward had been suspended instead of being fined $750.

It was the fifth time this season that the Tiger has attracted the attention of match review officer Michael Christian and the fourth time he has been fined. Another charge of striking Essendon's Michael Hurley was referred to the AFL Tribunal, which cleared Lynch.

While fellow key forward Jack Riewoldt was quiet last Friday night, Lynch made an impressive return from a hamstring injury. But for wayward kicking, he would have finished with more than two goals and his influence looms as crucial to Richmond's hopes of defeating Port Adelaide in Friday night's first preliminary final.

Hardwick was a tough, no-nonsense premiership defender with Essendon and Port Adelaide who encourages his men to play on the edge. Three years ago, Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin was fortunate to escape suspension for a bump on Dylan Shiel in the preliminary final, going on to lead the Tigers to a drought-breaking premiership the following week.

While Lynch's actions are not malicious, he is being stupid and the last thing the Tigers want is for their key forward on the sidelines if they advance to another grand final.

A DANGER IN ANY POSITION

Geelong coach Chris Scott wishes he had two Patrick Dangerfields - one to wreak havoc in the midfield and another to be a focal point in attack alongside Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins.

Unfortunately for Scott, there's only one and each week the Cats must decide where is the best spot to employ Dangerfield.

Last Saturday night, the All-Australian captain started in attack and his combination with Hawkins proved most effective against an under-siege Collingwood defence, contributing four goals apiece.

Dangerfield has spent most of the season in the midfield. In round six, he sparked a third-quarter revival that turned the game against Brisbane at the SCG.

Lions coach Chris Fagan is sure to plan for both contingencies, but restricting Dangerfield's impact presents a massive challenge.

A dejected Collingwood side walks off. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

A dejected Collingwood side walks off. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

HUMILIATING END FOR MAGPIES

After a decorated playing career and nine years as Collingwood coach, Nathan Buckley is no closer to that elusive first premiership.

The Magpies bowed out of this season's finals race last Saturday night, managing only two scoring shots in three quarters as they were outclassed by the slick, determined Cats.

An emotional Collingwood hall of famer told me it was the club's worst performance in his 50 years.

In the wake of such an insipid finish, many questions will be asked in the off-season - did the gritty elimination final win over West Coast take too heavy a toll on the Magpies and they had nothing to give?

High-flying defender Jeremy Howe and vice-captain Steele Sidebottom would have been handy in the finals, but maybe three months on the road - including two quarantine stints in Western Australia - might have proved too much.

Post-match, Buckley opined a reason behind ruckman Brodie Grundy's form slump might have been that he was one of many players who has struggled to cope with hub life.

The Magpies must re-sign several players - including Jordan De Goey, Darcy Moore, Brody Mihocek and Josh Daicos - and boost their scoring power by acquiring a key forward in the trade period.

STARS' DAUGHTERS GRAB AFLW CHANCE

Father-son selections have been an important part of the AFL landscape for many years, and it is great that daughters of former stars are afforded the same privilege through the AFLW.

The daughters of St Kilda great Nathan Burke, former Collingwood captain Gavin Brown and ex-North Melbourne and Melbourne high-flyer Shaun Smith were given the opportunity to follow in their dad's footsteps when they were selected at the AFLW draft last week.

Alice Burke, Tarni Brown and Amy Smith join Abbie McKay (Carlton), Millie Brown (Geelong) and Isabella Grant (Western Bulldogs) as AFLW father-daughter selections since the draft started in 2016.

I'll keep a close eye on Burke, Brown and Smith - there will be plenty of pressure on them, as there are with sons of past champions.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Jack Stack, of Golden Square, Victoria, asks: Can jockey Damien Oliver equal Scobie Breasley's record of five Caulfield Cup wins on Saturday? For the record, I believe Warning ($17) will run a good race at odds.

It will be tough for Oliver to win his first Caulfield Cup in 21 years on last year's Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare.

The five-year-old gelding failed to run on at his last start in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington earlier this month and it is hard to see him improving enough.

  • This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.