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Lynch helps Tigers build premiership case

Richmond have added a classy forward in Tom Lynch as they look to atone for a disappointing finish to 2018 with a second premiership flag in three years.

Lynch helps Tigers build premiership case

Richmond have added a classy forward in Tom Lynch as they look to atone for a disappointing finish to 2018 with a second premiership flag in three years.

TOM LYNCH of the Suns and PATRICK AMBROSE of the Bombers compete for the ball during the AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
TOM LYNCH of the Suns and PATRICK AMBROSE of the Bombers compete for the ball during the AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. Picture:Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

 

Richmond might have secured a vital piece of their next premiership puzzle when they won the race to sign star free agent Tom Lynch.


 

 

But excitement at the gun forward's arrival at Punt Rd was tempered somewhat by the knee injury he brought with him from Gold Coast that eventually needed surgery.

 

 

Fears the 26-year-old would miss games early in the season have eased as he has ramped up his training loads.

 

 

In fact, he's advanced to the point where the highly anticipated season opener against Carlton is in his sights.

 

 

"He's terrific ... there's every chance that he'll play," Tigers football chief Neil Balme told AAP about Lynch's chance of playing against the Blues.

 

 

"He's going to be a long term player for us, so we're not worried about round one as such.

 

 

"But there's still some chance that he'll get up ... when he's ready to go he'll tell us.

 

 

"If you watch him train you'd think that he was fine. In the good old days they would just play him but he has some markers to hit in terms of jumping, landing and changing direction.

 

 

"Just little things rather than the macro stuff, but he's very confident and is really happy with what he's doing and so are the medicos so if he doesn't play round one he won't be far off."

 

 

Through necessity more than desire, Damien Hardwick engineered a non-traditional forward line based around sole tall Jack Riewoldt that propelled the Tigers to the 2017 premiership flag.

 

 

That same structure got them to a preliminary final last year where Collingwood beat Richmond at their own game.

 

 

But the arrival of Lynch will require a shake-up inside attacking 50.

 

 

His limited pre-season has made it difficult to get a handle on just how that recast forward line will function, but it's a nice problem to have.

 

 

"If I were to say to any coach 'You're going to have to make something out of Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt as key forwards' I think it would be a relatively easy task," Balme said.

 

 

"We're pretty sure how that will work but obviously you don't know absolutely until they do it.

 

 

"We just have to get that balance of ground and aerial play and how that all works together.

 

 

"Certainly to be able to have two key forwards of the calibre of Jack and Tom is going to be amazing."

 

 

Of course, Lynch's arrival is only one of many reasons Richmond are the popular tip to claim the club's 12th flag this season.

 

 

Most players have enjoyed solid pre-seasons, with Shaun Grigg (knee) and Josh Caddy (ankle) the only 2017 premiership players ruled out of round one.

 

 

Superstar midfielder Dustin Martin is fit again and in a good place with his footy, intent on returning to the stunning form of 2017 when he took all before him.

 

 

But perhaps Riewoldt summed up why the Tigers will be such a threat once again this season.

 

 

After storming to last year's minor premiership, he believes Richmond are out for redemption after an uncharacteristic performance in a 39-point preliminary final loss to the Pies.

 

 

"I think that's true but the problem is when you're preparing for your season if you worry too much about the outcome you don't do what you're supposed to do," Balme said.

 

 

"What he's saying there is that we prepared ourselves as well as we could but it didn't work so we're dirty on it.

 

 

"We're not dirty on Collingwood, we're dirty on ourselves so we're going to make sure that we do everything right to get there again.

 

 

"That's what redemption is."

 

 

RICHMOND

 

 

Coach: Damien Hardwick

 

 

Captain: Trent Cotchin

 

 

Last five years: 8-7-13-1-3

 

 

Premierships: 11 (1920, 1921, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1980, 2017).

 

 

Key five: Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin, Tom Lynch, Alex Rance.

 

 

One to watch: Noah Balta. The more excitable fans of the Tiger Army have likened the athletic specimen to Matthew Richardson, Anthony Koutoufides or Alex Rance or even a combination of all three. Insiders are also excited about the versatile tall's potential after an impressive pre-season.

 

 

Ins: Jake Aarts (Richmond VFL), Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers), Luke English (Perth), Tom Lynch (Gold Coast), Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers), Fraser Turner (Clarence), Maverick Weller (St Kilda).

 

 

Outs: Reece Conca (Fremantle), Nathan Drummond (delisted), Corey Ellis (Gold Coast), Ben Griffiths (retired), Shaun Hampson (retired), Sam Lloyd (Western Bulldogs), Anthony Miles (Gold Coast), Tyson Stengle (Adelaide).

 

 

Best line-up:

 

 

B: Dylan Grimes, David Astbury, Nick Vlastuin

 

 

HB: Jayden Short, Alex Rance, Nathan Broad

 

 

C: Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Kamdyn McIntosh

 

 

HF: Daniel Rioli, Tom Lynch, Dion Prestia

 

 

F: Jack Higgins, Jack Riewoldt, Josh Caddy

 

 

R: Toby Nankervis, Dustin Martin, Shane Edwards

 

 

I: Kane Lambert, Jack Graham, Bachar Houli, Dan Butler

 

 

Predicted finish: 1st

 


AAP




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