Explosive footy pile-on turns personal
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has slammed Tom Lynch's critics as the Tigers forward comes under fire for his tough-guy impersonation in recent games.
The 27-year-old was slapped with two $1000 fines for striking Sam Collins and Jarrod Witts in the Tigers' win over Gold Coast on Monday - a punishment that comes after he was fined in Round 10 for shoving the head of Brisbane star Alex Witherden into the ground.
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Brisbane Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson called Lynch a "w***er" who "does my head in", while Melbourne great David Schwarz said on 3AW radio he would "grab him by the throat if he was my opponent".
Hardwick stuck up for his player, hitting back with a fiery spray of his own.
"I thought the carry on was completely over the top to be fair," Hardwick told reporters.
"Those sort of things happen within the game 400 times but for whatever reason we are all going after Tom Lynch.
"I found it disappointing, especially from some of the (past) players that made comment. David Schwarz was completely over the top.
"They're there to make comment but let's just make sure we spread the load and not just target Richmond players.
"He's not overly proud of what he did to young Witherden and on the weekend, but the reality is, these things happen from time to time.
"Let's not define a person's character by that one event. Let's look at a period of work. This guy's incredibly brave on the field, he jumps into packs, he jumps back with courage."
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Hardwick's reply turned personal as he saved a special serve for Schwarz.
"For people to sit there and say he lacks courage is completely irresponsible and lacks perspective and they should really have a good, hard look at themselves," he said.
"I guarantee you, there's a few players out there making comments, mainly I'm looking at David Schwarz here. I played a Grand Final against that bloke and within 20 minutes of the game he was crying. So he should have a look at himself at some stage."
The Richmond mentor then weighed in on Robinson's attack, which he said was unwarranted when all players are doing their best to keep the season running in trying circumstances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I've got an enormous amount of respect for Mitch and I'm sure he probably looks back and it's probably not the ideal choice of words," Hardwick said.
"All the players are up here trying to compete and trying to do their very best to get the game up and going. I don't think we need players lumping on other players in my opinion, but I'm sure Brisbane will take care of that.
"(Lions coach) Chris Fagan is a wonderful friend of mine, a fantastic coach and I'm sure he would have had a quiet word to Mitch along the way."
Originally published as Explosive AFL pile-on turns personal