Richmond’s Lynch set for MRO scrutiny

Richmond forward Tom Lynch will learn on Saturday whether he has a case to answer for his tussle with St Kilda’s Dougal Howard in the Tigers’ AFL semi-final victory.

Lynch gave away a 50-metre penalty for throwing Howard to the ground, then appeared to drop his left knee on the defender’s neck and shoulder area during the third quarter of Friday night’s game at Metricon Stadium.

The Tiger is likely to come under scrutiny when match review officer Michael Christian releases his findings on Saturday but given the low impact, a suspension for next Friday’s preliminary final against Port Adelaide appears unlikely.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick played down the incident, saying he “wouldn’t have thought” the forward would be in trouble while defending Lynch’s aggression.

“I don’t want him giving away free kicks, don’t get me wrong and I want him playing within the rules – but Tom’s an aggressive style of player,” Hardwick said post-match.

“The way he jumps into packs is incredible – I think what happens is we tend to focus on the 20 per cent and not the 80 per cent.

“We don’t look at him (for) smashing two blokes and getting the ball to ground for Shai Bolton to kick two or three goals, we look at the incident that’s minuscule.”

The power forward has already attracted the attention of the MRO on several occasions this year.

Lynch previously received a fine for misconduct on Brisbane’s Alex Witherden and two separate fines for striking Gold Coast’s Sam Collins and Jarrod Witts.

He was later sent to the AFL tribunal for a striking charge against Essendon’s Michael Hurley – and was ultimately cleared.

Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin could also be looked at for catching St Kilda’s Zak Jones around the neck with a tackle in the second quarter.

Hardwick expected his players to continue to “push the envelope” with their on-field aggression.

“We play a hard, tough brand of footy and there’s no way I’d discourage it from our players – that’s for sure because if you take that away from them they’re not the competitive beasts we know they are,” he said.

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