Richmond spearhead Tom Lynch is again facing a possible suspension over an incident against Essendon that's sparked plenty of debate.
Lynch was last week fined for an off-the-ball shot on Gold Coast's Sam Collins that was labelled a "cheap shot" from AFL legend Nick Riewoldt, among others.
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Against the Bombers on Saturday night, the Tigers forward again found himself at the centre of controversy, following an incident with Michael Hurley.
Replays appeared to show Lynch striking Hurley's throat after a tussle between the two players during the final quarter of the Tigers' 12-point win in Darwin on Saturday night.
Fox Footy’s Tom Morris offered a possible reason for Lynch's strike after the match, suggesting Hurley looked as if he was reaching towards the hand the Tigers star broke in July.
He added that Hurley could be fined for misconduct if that was the case, with Brad Johnson saying he didn't think Lynch had "anything to worry about on this occasion”.
However, the Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph suggested that Lynch could be in trouble, tipping the Richmond star to be hit with more than just a fine this time.
“Lynch whacks Mick Hurley in the neck which is officially high contact. Hard enough to be a week. Hurley looks to be whacking his hand or trying to break his hold but it’s surely enough force for a week this time,” Ralph tweeted.
Plenty of other viewers shared Ralph's sentiment, with AFL fans seemingly losing patience with Lynch after his latest indiscretion.
What they really mean when they say Tom Lynch “under scrutiny” is a slap on the wrist. Nothing to see here. Surely he can’t keep getting away with off-the-ball hits? Ugly look for the game. https://t.co/x6e4DOdz8D— Justin Robertson (@justinjourno) August 22, 2020
Another dog act by Tom Lynch. When is he going to get suspended #AFLDonsTigers— Victor Yong #StaySafe 🇦🇺 (@BigV2011WCE) August 22, 2020
Death, taxes, Tom Lynch slugging someone.— Heidi (@HeidiP831) August 22, 2020
AFL need to step up their punishments for diving, Tom lynch needs to be suspended for three weeks, otherwise he’s gonna keep punching people. #AFLDonsTigers— ChuckaKhan (@KhanChucka) August 22, 2020
If that was tom hawkins he be suspended but how many chances does the afl give Tom lynch far out— Joel Higgins (@JoelHig88439979) August 22, 2020
Tom Lynch should have a holiday— Victor Yong #StaySafe 🇦🇺 (@BigV2011WCE) August 22, 2020
Lynch faces potential ban over latest incident
The incident is the latest in a string involving the key forward, who last week was fined $2000 for two separate off-the-ball hits against Gold Coast.
That fine followed another $500 fine for misconduct a fortnight earlier for pushing Brisbane defender Alex Witherden's head into the ground.
The AFL's match review officer Michael Christian will review footage of Lynch's clash with Hurley which shows the Tiger forward making contact with his right forearm.
The blow wasn't overly forceful but angered Hurley.
Lynch's coach Damien Hardwick, while saying he didn't see the incident, again defended his spearhead, describing him as a "hard, tough player".
And Hardwick indicated he had no problem with Lynch or any of his players treading a fine line regarding physicality.
"I have been around footy a long time, I have been really fortunate to be at some good organisations," Hardwick said post-match.
"All the good ones, they run the line all the time.
"They generally give away the most free kicks and they generally have the most reports. That is why they're a good side."