Furious star explodes over ‘cheap shot’
Richmond Tigers goal-kicker Tom Lynch could find himself in hot water with the AFL's Match Review Officer after striking Gold Coast Suns defender Sam Collins on Monday evening.
Following the round 12 encounter at the Gabba, Lynch was heavily scrutinised by the football community for throwing a "swinging arm" at his unsuspecting opponent.
With six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Lynch's arm made contact with Collins' chest while trying to get free during an offensive play.
The 26-year-old Suns star immediately showed his discomfort by collapsing to the turf, while Lynch sprinted ahead to claim a mark inside 50 - the tall forward slotted his second major of the match with ease to give his side a 13-point lead.
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Replays of Lynch's unprovoked attack left the commentators in shock.
"Lynch just throws the swinging arm which sucks the gas out of him," Fox Footy commentator Anthony Hudson said.
Hawthorn Hawks great Jordan Lewis agreed: "That's not what you want to see.
"They're trying to get rid of that punch to the stomach."
AFL LIVE SCORES: Round 12 match centres
Before play resumed, the pair got into a heated altercation, repeatedly shoving each other in the chest and exchanging some presumably unsavoury words.
Melbourne Demons legend Garry Lyon predicted Lynch would cop a four-figure fine for the incident, but would not be suspended by the AFL.
"This is just a punch to the guts," Lyon said on Fox Footy's On The Couch.
"The AFL have demonstrated that they're happy to condone these. They don't see them as worthy of a week's suspension.
"Write your check, $1500, away you go."
Collins was filmed venting his frustration in the locker room after the match. In the confronting footage, the defender fumed as he punched a concrete pillar with sponsorship padding, eventually sitting by himself, eyes closed and in silence.
"He's not happy at all," three-time All-Australian Gerard Healy muttered.
Former St Kilda star Nick Riewoldt replied: "He's a great competitor.
"He clearly didn't like the treatment. He didn't like the fact Tom Lynch got on the end of it and kicked a goal.
"I can't wait to see these boys come up against each other next time.
"It's a cheap shot because you're not expecting that as a player."
Lyon agreed: "Anyone can punch someone in the guts. It's not brave.
"You talk about being on the edge, that's not being on the edge."
Speaking to ABC Grandstand after the match, Lynch defended his actions, claiming it was "an open hand to the chest".
"It was just an open hand and pushed off. That was it," Lynch said.
"He was a bit angry about that, but it was just an open hand to the chest, which as key forwards, is what you want to do."
Regardless, Lynch faced plenty of criticism for his "cheap shot". West Australian senior footy writer Mark Duffield tweeted: "Will be very keen to see what MRO makes of Tom Lynch punch on Sam Collins. Live game and a forward marks and goals by getting off his man by punching him off the ball."
Leader News reporter James Mottershead posted: "Tom Lynch not making a great name for himself of late. Too many cheap shots. Weak and embarrassing."
Sports broadcaster Rohan Connolly tweeted: "Ordinary stuff Tom Lynch. Game doesn't cheap shots, and you don't need cheap shots to perform well. There's a difference between 'playing on the edge' and belting a guy in the guts well off the ball. Anyone can do that. Cut it out."
Australian comedian Scott Dooley queried: "Is Tom Lynch a bit of a d***head?"
Sam Collins v Tom Lynch in an off-season charity boxing bout. Make it happen— Lee Gaskin (@Lee_Gaskin1) August 17, 2020
New camera angle of Tom Lynch’s “open hand push off” pic.twitter.com/qD0XVCIYDr— Simon Mackin (@simonmackin14) August 17, 2020
Meanwhile, Collins was praised for his relentless competitiveness. Sports journalist Jack Hudson tweeted: "Love the competitive anger of Sam Collins. That is seriously good."
Seven News reporter Tim Yeatman posted: "That vision of Sam Collins in the rooms post-game is fascinating. What a competitor."
Sydney Swans great Jude Bolton tweeted: "Loved the intensity of Sam Collins."
Speaking to Fox Footy after the final siren, Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt suggested Lynch's aggressive mindset improved his performance.
"He probably plays he best footy when he's on the edge; he's a bit scary actually," Riewoldt said.
"We know he plays his best footy when he's aggressive and in the contest, and sometimes there's got to be a little bit of this to get him up and going.
"It's what makes you a player."
Richmond won Monday's match 8.5 (53) to 4.8 (32) - Gold Coast have four days to prepare for the next fixture against Carlton in the North Territory, while the Tigers will face Essendon on Saturday evening.
Originally published as Furious star explodes over 'cheap shot'