TOM LYNCH has his mojo back, says Richmond coach Damien Hardwick.
In a scary sight for rival clubs, Lynch kicked three goals and had the better of Virgin Australia AFL All-Australian defender Harris Andrews in the opening half of the Tigers' 41-point win over Brisbane on Tuesday night.
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Alongside fellow spearhead Jack Riewoldt, who broke his 2020 slump with four goals, Richmond's forward line looked potent.
It was Lynch that got the ball rolling, staying down twice when Andrews failed to spoil effectively for two first-quarter goals and then adding a third in the next quarter when he out-muscled the Lion.
The former Gold Coast captain got involved in plenty of push-and-shove as well, an aggressive element that Hardwick liked.
"It's when he plays his best footy, he's physical," Hardwick said.
"For a guy that is such a nice person off the field, he’s quite aggressive.
"I didn’t realise he was that sort of player. The way he hits the ball, he jumps into contests.
"He’s got his mojo back, he’s aggressive and that’s the way we like him."
Hardwick said it was only a "matter of time" before Lynch and Riewoldt fired together. Before Tuesday night's match they had just 22 goals between them through nine rounds.
"Our boys rose to the challenge, they’ve been putting in a hell of a lot of hard work and finally got the outcome they’ve been looking for," Hardwick said.
Richmond was ruthless against a wasteful Lions and will now prepare for competition leaders Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon.
"I thought we came out pretty hard, they had their chances and I think we left a lot of goals on the table as well," Hardwick said.
"We probably tried to overuse the ball a little bit inside 50 and butchered a few chances.
"We've got a formidable challenge over in Adelaide this week - they are sitting on top of the ladder, play a dynamic brand of footy."
Meanwhile, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan was at a complete loss to explain his team's woeful goalkicking.
Not only was it a 15th straight loss to the Tigers' but almost a carbon-copy of last season's qualifying final defeat where they kicked 8.17. This time it was 4.17.
"We practice and practice and practice and practice and practice, I'll tell you that now," Fagan said.
"At training we kick quite accurately, and we try and do it when they're fatigued … we follow all the basics of good goalkicking practice.
"It's been an issue for us. We're not avoiding it.
"I'm not saying it made the difference between winning and losing the game, but it made the difference between the game being a tight game and not a tight game."
Richmond narrowly won the inside 50 count (44-40) and contested possessions (103-97), while Brisbane edged the clearances (28-20), but it was the Tigers' efficiency that won the day.
"I thought our players showed a lot of grit to keep going because that can be deflating," Fagan said.
"The effort was there, the intensity was there, the finish wasn't."
Fagan said Cam Rayner would likely miss "two to three" weeks with a hamstring injury that would be scanned on Wednesday.
In better news for Brisbane, Daniel Rich (hamstring), Ryan Lester (hamstring), Grant Birchall (managed) and Dan McStay (suspension) will all be available for Saturday's match against the Western Bulldogs.