Richmond star Tom Lynch escapes AFL suspension, free to play Essendon

Richmond premiership star Tom Lynch has escaped an AFL suspension, despite being charged with two striking offences out of the Tigers’ 21-point win over Gold Coast.

Lynch found himself in hot water for a hit on Suns defender Sam Collins during the final quarter at the Gabba on Monday night.

He was also spotted striking ruckman Jarrod Witts during the third term.

The Tigers spearhead avoided a ban from the AFL but was offered separate $1,000 fines for the two offences.

Gold Coast’s Caleb Graham was offered the same sanction for striking the Tigers’ Mabior Chol during the last quarter.

Lynch’s swinging right arm to Collins’s chest drew fierce criticism after it was shown during the television broadcast, with former St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt labelling it a “cheap shot”.

Lynch defended himself during a post-match interview and is free to play in Richmond’s Dreamtime match against Essendon in Darwin on Saturday night.

“It was just an open hand and pushed off,” he told ABC Grandstand.

“He [Collins] 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.”

Lynch’s latest sanction comes a fortnight after he was fined $500 for misconduct after shoving Brisbane defender Alex Witherden’s head into the ground.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick and Lynch’s teammates, Jack Riewoldt and Kane Lambert, all said in the aftermath of Monday night’s victory they enjoyed seeing the star forward play on the edge.

“Dimma [Hardwick] wants us to play assertive and aggressive football, sometimes that’s going to push the boundaries,” Lambert told SEN radio on Tuesday.

“We don’t want to be reckless, but as a smaller-type player, playing around a key [forward] like Tom Lynch I’ve got a lot of confidence. He always looks out for us.

“I really love playing with Tommy, he’s been great for the football club.”