FORMER Gold Coast co-captain Tom Lynch had never played in front of 52,000 fans until he made his Richmond debut in round one this year.
That night, in excess of 85,000 people packed into the MCG for the Tigers' annual season-opener against Carlton, then a week later almost 71,000 turned up for the clash with Collingwood.
Twice more since then, against Melbourne on Anzac Day Eve and Essendon in round 10, Lynch ran out to 70,000-plus crowds.
Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt have formed a dynamic partnership. Picture: AFL Photos
In five days, when Richmond will attempt to avenge consecutive defeats to the Magpies – including last year's shock preliminary final result – there might even be more than 90,000.
These are exactly the types of matches Lynch wanted to part of when he departed the Suns as last year's most coveted free agent.
The lure of home was just as great for the one-time Dandenong Stingrays prodigy.
"I was pretty keen to come back to Victoria, where I'm from, and there's no better place to play footy than the 'G on a Friday night, so I'll be pretty excited for that one," Lynch told AFL.com.au of the date with Collingwood.
"They're a super side and it's going to be tough but we'll think about this one (the 38-point victory over Port Adelaide) for a little bit, then we'll work on the Pies on Monday.
"The last two games were really important to us, so we've got a massive five games to go."
Lynch was one of the Tigers' best players on Saturday in an ominous performance that offered another glimpse into the weapon Damien Hardwick's team has inherited.
The 26-year-old was a nightmare for the Power's defenders when he stationed himself deep, and was just as difficult once he moved further afield to serve as Richmond's linkman.
If not for some inaccurate goalkicking he might have matched the season-high six majors he booted against the same club in round four.
Even then, Lynch's unstoppable ways were highlighted in a final-term highlight, where an unlucky bounce left his opponent for the day, Tom Clurey, in a vulnerable spot.
The Sherrin instead landed in the 199cm Tiger's hands and he unsuccessfully tried to bulldoze through Clurey, before throwing the ball onto his left boot and snapping a brilliant goal.
It was Lynch's third for the day, against four behinds, to go with 19 disposals (13 contested), nine marks (four contested and five inside 50) and an enormous 12 score involvements.
He has 40 majors for the year, good for equal-third in the AFL entering Sunday, although he laughed off mounting a late-season challenge to the Giants' Coleman Medal frontrunner Jeremy Cameron (54).
No more proof is required that Lynch is over the posterior cruciate ligament injury that required surgery last year and prematurely ended his final season on the Gold Coast.
"I knew I was going to build into the season. I was a little bit scratchy earlier in the season but my body feels really good," he said.
"I feel like I've learned the Richmond style and I've played a bit of footy this year now, so it's good."
The fact triple Coleman medallist Jack Riewoldt, in just his fourth match this year because of his own PCL setback, kicked three goals as well against Port made for an even better day.
As for how they decide who plays deeper or further afield, Lynch joked they simply "get out of Dusty's way".
"We worked all right together last week and today it was getting better but Jack's obviously going to be better in a month's time," Lynch said of he and Riewoldt.
"He's a superstar and it's probably the only time in my career when I've had someone older as a key forward (teammate), which is a bit strange, because I'm a bit older now – I'm probably doing it backwards.
"It's awesome to have him alongside me and great to have him back out there."
In the background of Lynch's success is the continued struggles of the Suns, who lost their 13th straight game at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, barely 10 minutes away from the Tigers' MCG heroics.
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A more-sombre Lynch paused as he tried to find the right words to reflect on his former side, which seems certain to finish on the bottom for the first time in its nine-year history.
"Obviously, I've got a lot of great mates up there and I wish them all the best," he said.
"I don't know (what to make of it). You're pretty focused on what you're doing but hopefully they have a good backend of the year."