RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has launched a stunning defence of star forward Tom Lynch, while attacking Melbourne champion David Schwarz's character as a player.
Schwarz led a chorus of criticism directed at Lynch after the Tigers spearhead received two separate $1000 fines for striking in Richmond's win over Gold Coast on Monday night.
It came less than a fortnight after Lynch received a $500 for misconduct for pushing Lion Alex Witherden's head into the Metricon Stadium turf in round 10.
Schwarz labelled Lynch a "goose", "knucklehead" and said he needed to "stop trying to be something you're not" on 3AW this week.
Speaking ahead of the Tigers' clash with Essendon on Saturday night, a match in which they'll regain Bachar Houli, Hardwick didn't hold back at Schwarz.
"I've spoken to Tom. I love his aggression, sometimes he's going to go over it (the line) and he's going to (give away) free kicks, or like the weekend he's going to get a report or two," Hardwick said.
"(He's) not overly proud of what he did to young Witherden on the weekend, but the reality is, these things happen from time to time but let's not define a person's character by that one event … let's look at a period of work.
"This guy's incredibly brave on the field. He jumps into packs, he jumps back with courage.
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"So for people to sit there and say he lacks courage is completely irresponsible and lacks perspective in my point of view and they really should have a good hard look at themselves.
"Because I guarantee you, there's a few players out there making comment.
"Mainly I'm looking at David Schwarz here. I played a grand final (for Essendon against Melbourne in 2000) against that bloke and within 20 minutes of the game he was crying so (he should) have a look at himself at some stage."
Hardwick was less concerned at Mitch Robinson's comments directed at his premiership star.
"I don't think we need players lumping on players in my opinion but I'm sure Brisbane will take care of that," Hardwick said.
"(Lions coach) Chris Fagan's a wonderful friend of mine, a fantastic coach, so I'm sure he would've had a word to Mitch along the way."
Meantime, reigning Tigers best and fairest Dion Prestia has suffered a setback on his ankle syndesmosis injury and was sent for an arthroscope this week.
Hardwick is hopeful his gun midfielder will be ready for the first week of finals.
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Toby Nankervis, who suffered the same injury in the same game as Prestia on July 5, is making better progress on a return.
The ruckman was due to play some minutes in a Tigers scratch match alongside Josh Caddy – who remains out of the side on form – on Thursday afternoon in the hope he could play next Thursday night against West Coast.