The Tom Lynch striking drama has continued to divide the AFL world with Demons great David Schwarz having to defend his criticism against the Tigers star after coach Damien Hardwick came out swinging today.
Hardwick hit out at Schwarz’s comments of Lynch’s “boofhead” strikes on Sam Collins and Jarrod Witts in Richmond’s win over the Gold Coast Suns which earned the forward two $1,000 fines.
In a strange tangent defending Lynch, the Richmond coach and former Essendon Bomber recalled his memories playing Schwarz in the 2000 AFL grand final.
“They should have a good, hard look at themselves as I guarantee a few guys making comments, and I’m looking at David Schwarz here – I played a grand final against this bloke – and 20 minutes into the game he was crying,” Hardwick said.
“So he should have a look at himself at some stage.”
Schwarz didn’t flinch despite being personally called out by Hardwick.
“I have nothing to sort out. You give and take it on and off the field. I have given it and now I need to take it,” he told Fox Footy.
“I’m a big boy. I stand by what I said and I didn’t take it personally what Dimma [Hardwick] said.
“He might have remembered the grand final differently because he was a winner. It’s a long time ago and I haven’t watched it back.
“Apparently it matters if you cry.”
Schwarz told 3AW radio this week that Lynch was acting like a “goose”. He also speculated whether the youngster was being told by “someone at Richmond” to be more aggressive and warned that if he didn’t change his attitude, an opponent would be pushed to “line him up”.
“It’s part of his game. Obviously we want Tom to play to the letter of the law but there are times he is going to go past that like most players,” Hardwick said on the suggestion of added aggression tactics.
“I’ve spoken to Tom and I love his aggression. Sometimes he will go over [the top] and give away free kicks or like last weekend get reported.
“But I thought the carry-on was completely over the top. Those sort of things happen within the game 400 times but for some reason, we all go after Tom Lynch.
“I found it disappointing, especially [from] some of the players that made comment.
“David Schwarz was completely over the top, [journalist] Mark Robinson as well. I was incredibly disappointed with that. They are there to make comment but let’s share the load and not just target Richmond players.”
Lloyd urges Lynch to pick his moments
Hardwick said that Lynch was misunderstood by those criticising him in the media.
“I know Tom better than anyone on this screen [Zoom] and if you ask the vast majority of people in the AFL, you couldn’t meet a nicer person,” Hardwick said.
“He’s not overly proud of what he did but these things happen from time to time and let’s just define a person’s character by one event.
“This guy is incredibly brave on the field, he jumps into packs with courage so for people to sit there and say he lacks courage is completely irresponsible and lacks perspective.”
Schwarz was equally determined to back up his earlier comments on Lynch and Richmond.
“I don’t back down from one thing I’ve said about Tom Lynch. He can play the game. But this wasn’t about last weekend. This has been a month where he has been a boofhead,” he said.
“Obviously someone at the club has told him to do it.
“My observations were taken away from him being at his best. When he plays the ball he’s a bloody good player. He’s a star. When you start belting blokes, you start putting yourself in front of the team. That was my point.
“For Dimma [Hardwick] to get personal, that’s his decision if he wants to do that. My recollection of grand final day is different to that. Losing a grand final is never fun. It’s devastating. You work your entire bloody career to get to one.
“I love Dimma. I love the way he coaches and the way he backs up his players, but there is no doubt that Tom Lynch has been a boofhead. Nothing more and nothing less.”
“He went the man. Who cares? It’s neither here nor there for me,” Schwarz added.
“I will sleep really well tonight and sleep really well most nights. The comments I made I think were accurate. If Tom Lynch actually played for the footy, I reckon more players would be concerned about him going for the footy rather than belting blokes behind the play.”
The Tigers are finalising their preparations for a Saturday night clash in Darwin against Essendon.