Damien Hardwick under fire over 'sore loser' moment in press conference

The Richmond coach was less than impressed after being asked about Tom Lynch's potential AFL suspension.

Damien Hardwick is pictured left, with Tom Lynch's bump on Alex Keath highlighted on the right.
Damien Hardwick bristled at a journalist's question about Tom Lynch's bump on Alex Keath, which saw him referred directly to the AFL tribunal. Pictures: Getty Images/AFL

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has been sharply criticised after taking a swipe at an AFL journalist who asked a question about Tigers forward Tom Lynch's bump on Western Bulldogs defender Alex Keath. Lynch was referred to the Tribunal for the hit, which saw Keath substituted out of the match with concussion.

The Western Bulldogs claimed a narrow five-point win over the Tigers, a result which saw them tumble to 12th on the ladder with just one win, one draw and two losses for the season so far. Hardwick bristled at the question about Lynch's bump on Heath, taking a potshot at the television broadcast and dismissing entirely the idea that he would be subject to scrutiny as a result.

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That suggestion was swiftly proved wrong on Sunday, when the MRP referred Lynch directly to the Tribunal. When asked whether he believed Lynch could be under scrutiny by the MRP, Hardwick replied "What for? For being tough in the contest?"

Former AFL player Kane Cornes was less than impressed, saying Hardwick's comments made him sound like a 'sore loser' after a difficult start to the Tigers' season. He said he was somewhat taken aback by his former premiership teammates demeanour, given Lynch had deliberately run under a marking contest to bump Keath - something the AFL has not looked favourably on for several years now.

" I thought he came across as a sore loser," he said on the Sunday Footy Show. "He clearly knew what the journalist was asking him about and the incident he was referring to, so he played dumb in that moment.

" It's nothing personal with Damien Hardwick. I just think if he had his time again, in the current landscape of football, it's clear that it's going to be a talking point."

Lynch faces a tough task to clear his name at the Tribunal, but it may be a moot point as the 30-year-old suffered a fractured foot in the defeat. While a timeframe will be confirmed following scans, Lynch is reportedly expected to miss roughly two months of action.

Tom Lynch criticised over Alex Keath hit

Cornes said he believed Lynch would cop a one-week ban from the Tribunal. It comes after Melbourne's Kysaiah Pickett and Buddy Franklin both copped bans back in round one for overrunning the ball and bumping an opponent.

"Lynch will miss a game for that, he will get suspended. He had an alternative to mark and he chose to bump," Cornes said. "Alex Keath is subbed out of the game in the first quarter through concussion and obviously the journalist is not doing his job if he didn't ask that question.

"That's not being tough in a marking contest. That is Tom Lynch once again having an alternative other than marking the footy.

"He couldn't mark the footy, he chooses to bump and clearly in today's environment that is going to be looked at, and Damien Hardwick should've been conscious that was going to be a question that was going to come his way post-game. "

Tom Lynch is pictured with Richmond teammates.
Tom Lynch will face the tribunal this week, but is staring down a two-month injury absence due to a fractured foot. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

After leading by 29 points early in the second term, the Dogs' advantage vanished by halftime as the Tigers piled on eight straight goals in a burst of play equal to anything they produced during their recent premiership golden era. But Richmond were restricted to just 2.5 in the second half as the Bulldogs settled in defence amid driving rain to prevail 12.17 (89) to 12.12 (84) for their second-straight win.

The Bulldogs reclaimed the lead through a Mitch Hannan snap early in the last quarter, but a Shai Bolton goal with 30 seconds remaining gave the Tigers a chance to pinch the game. But Marcus Bontempelli stormed out of the last centre clearance to steer the Bulldogs to safety.

"There's a lot of intestinal fortitude about the win, there's no doubt," Beveridge said. "When you're trying to establish a foothold of of your future, the in-the-now stuff and making the most of the opportunities when the games are tight and creating those sort of memories that you can invest in and use for the future are always really critical. We haven't beaten Richmond a lot over the journey ... so an important afternoon for us."

With AAP

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