Stars to boost Tigers, Lynch out again

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Richmond could welcome back three premiership stars for their intriguing AFL clash with Port Adelaide at the MCG.

Versatile tall Noah Balta (hamstring), dynamic forward Kane Lambert (hip) and Marlion Pickett (illness) will likely take on the Power on Thursday night but leading goalkicker Tom Lynch (hamstring) will miss another week.

Richmond (6-5) had the bye last weekend after their nail-biting and drama-filled defeat to the Sydney Swans in round 11.

Balta and Lambert are near-certainties to return but Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has doubts on Pickett's fitness after an interrupted last month.

Lambert has been managing a chronic hip issue which has threatened to cut short his career.

"What he goes through every week to play is incredible, no one does it better than Kane to get himself ready to play," Hardwick said.

"We just want to make sure when he comes back in he's close to 100 per cent as he's going to be, he's probably never going to be that again, but we want to get him close."

Speaking to the media for the first time since losing to the Swans, Hardwick addressed the post-match controversy surrounding the umpiring and Lance Franklin's explosive tribunal case for striking veteran Tigers midfielder Trent Cotchin.

Richmond were not awarded a 50-metre penalty when the siren sounded, after Dion Prestia was given a free kick at half-forward.

The AFL backed the umpire's non-decision but Hardwick used social media the day after the six-point loss to comically outline his confusion.

"Common sense. Sorry, what?," Hardwick posted, accompanied by a picture of a confused dog and a laughing emoji.

Hardwick joked on Monday it was "one of the great GIFs, that dog".

"The decision is what it is," he said at Punt Rd.

"Make no mistake, we learned some lessons from that game we will take moving forward.

"I understand why they made the decision ... our game is very tough to adjudicate."

Franklin was called "cowardly" by the AFL's lawyer, while the Swans' lawyer suggested Cotchin would earn an invite to the "Logies instead of the Brownlow" during last week's heated tribunal hearing.

The AFL later apologised to both players, particularly Franklin, for how the case was handled.

"A little bit like my comments sometimes, I think both advocates probably wish they had their time again," Hardwick said.

"Both of those players, Franklin and Cotchin, will go down as Hall-of-Famers from my point of view and I'm sure the AFL's point of view as well.

"We don't want to be using those word choices to describe two greats of the game."

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