The Adelaide Crows have defended footage of Tom Lynch appearing unready to be used as a substitute during their three-point loss to Hawthorn as a "planned" move.
Despite managing to kick 15 goals without a miss through three quarters on Sunday afternoon, the Crows fell to the Hawks 15.12 (102) to 16.3 (99).
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The Crows seemingly took a gamble by making forward Tom Lynch, who has been nursing a toe injury for several weeks, their designated medical substitute.
That gamble blew up in their face when defender Will Hamill was helped from the field by two trainers with a match-ending ankle injury in the third quarter - prompting Lynch to hustle to the Crows rooms to have his foot strapped and warm up.
It wasn't until the final quarter that Lynch was ready to enter the game, despite medical subs from other teams frequently ready to play almost immediately after their number is called.
The Crows were savaged from pillar to post over the choice, with fans and footy experts alike hammering the side for not ensuring a fully healthy player was chosen as the substitute.
Many were frustrated by the move, with some suggesting it contributed to the narrow and crucial loss.
Guardian columnist Greg Jericho said it was an unacceptable turn of events.
“This is pathetic by the Crows not having the sub ready. Awful second half by the Crows. Terrible player management with the sub," he tweeted.
Adelaide coach defends Lynch move
But on Monday, Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks defended his team's use of Lynch.
While he said the "aesthetics" of the footage didn't look good as Lynch scrambled to get ready, the move to use him was pre-planned.
"We acknowledge off the bat that it wasn't the best look," Nicks said.
"For supporters and people watching on the TV to have a player it looked like rushing around the change rooms getting organised, we can see how that came across.
"The intention that we went into the game with and the plan was executed exactly as we'd planned it.
"... at this point, without looking into it in too much more detail, would we go the same way this week and have our medical sub not rush, compose themselves, get ready, make sure that they're ready to go?
"Yeah, we'd go the same way. W'd give that player 15-odd minutes."
Nicks also jumped into defend Lynch and claimed any criticism aimed at him was "unwarranted".
He also admitted the Crows would look at how they approached the medical substitute.
"It's tough for any player, let alone an experienced player, to take the criticism that he's received over the last 24 hours," Nicks said.
"It's unwarranted because he's carrying out his role, he's the ultimate professional.
"For those who know Tom, he's all about team, he was ready to go. It was my instruction to Tom: 'no rush'.
"I jumped on the phone with three minutes to go in the third quarter and said 'no rush, we'll get you on in the first rotation, you'll be ready to go', so he carried out our plan.
"Now we'll look at our plan from here but I'd like to think maybe that some people, with a bit better understanding of where it's at, may go a bit easier on Tom."
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