Richmond forward Tom Lynch went some way towards repairing his conflicted on-field reputation after last weekend’s AFL preliminary final when he had a short chat with a young Port Adelaide fan as he walked from the ground.
The scenes after the Tigers defeated Port Adelaide were somewhat fraught for Lynch, who has been heavily criticised by fans throughout the 2020 season after escaping suspension for several striking incidents fans deemed unneccesary.
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That animosity continued after the game when a fan allegedly threw a drink on Lynch moments before he was to appear in a post-game interview with Channel 7.
Witness to the post-match ugliness was young Port Adelaide fan Archer Merritt and his father Jason, who were stunned by the behaviour of their fellow Power fans.
Lynch and Archer had a quick conversation about what had happened shortly after the post-match interview on the ground, and Channel 7 later caught up with the youngster to get more details about what they said.
“The Port Adelaide supporters were bullying him and making fun of him because he kicked a goal. We felt bad for him and we wanted to congratulate him,” Archer told the network.
Archer’s father Jason also shed more light on the heartwarming moment, saying he wanted to explain to his son that it was important to know how to behave after a loss, to show class.
“One of the Port supporters had thrown his drink all over Lynch,” Jason said.
"One of the Port supporters had thrown his drink all over Lynch. Archer was getting a bit worried. I took him up the back and said to him, 'That's not how you lose.'"— 7AFL (@7AFL) October 17, 2020
All class 🙏 pic.twitter.com/riWVUzNDIL
“Archer was getting a bit worried because things were getting a bit violent and escalated. I took him up the back away from it and said to him, ‘That’s not how you lose.
“That’s poor sportsmanship to carry on like that when your team has lost’.
“Archie felt bad for that and understood that’s not how you lose a game of football, and that’s not how you treat footballers.
“So he asked if he could get down there and congratulate Tom Lynch on making the Grand Final.”
Tom Lynch has drink thrown on him after prelim win
On-field barbs and physical scrimmages in the preliminary final also hinted at a sub-plot that bubbled to the surface on match eve, when Port star Hamish Hartlett claimed "plenty of people out there ... would like to see" Lynch's season end.
Hartlett and Power fans went home disappointed, especially when the ball landed in Lynch's lap as the final siren sounded.
The boos continued.
Even while conducting a post-match interview with Channel Seven, Lynch was left in no doubt where he stood with the locals.
"I'm copping it here a little bit. You can please repeat that? I just had a Bundy and Coke thrown on me," the 27-year-old said.
Fans on social media found the Port Adelaide supporter’s act distasteful, with many throwing their support behind Lynch despite admitting to criticising the Tiger’s on-field behaviour in the past.
As someone who's made his share of Tom Lynch jokes this season, I think this is a better reflection of him as a person than anything that happens on a footy field. https://t.co/13cocbM7xF— Scott Dooley (@scottdools) October 16, 2020
There is no need for that, there has to be a winner in every game. Tonight it was Richmond, every team goes through it every year. NO ONE deserves that, no matter who they play for.— Dean Thexton (@thecko34) October 16, 2020
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