Tiger Lynch thankful for coach's backing

With a little help from his coach, Tom Lynch is at peace with his bad-boy reputation as Richmond ponder more AFL success.

TOM LYNCH of the suns celebrates a goal during the AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Geelong Cats at MS in Gold Coast, Australia.
TOM LYNCH of the suns celebrates a goal during the AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Geelong Cats at MS in Gold Coast, Australia. Picture: Jason O'Brien/AFL Media/Getty Images

Tom Lynch says Richmond coach Damien Hardwick's decision to risk personal backlash and staunchly defend the star forward's character was crucial in their march to this season's AFL flag.

The former Gold Coast captain has drawn criticism since his move to the Tigers for his on-field antics, this season escaping suspension despite a series of off-the-ball incidents drawing match review officer scrutiny.

Lynch had a drink thrown on him by a Port Adelaide fan during a post-game interview that followed last week's preliminary final victory and was even booed by some sections as he collected his premiership medal at the Gabba on Saturday night.

But each time the key forward has been in the firing line his coach has stuck his neck out and backed Lynch's methods.

"It comes with the territory; people are going to love you, people are going to hate you," Lynch said of his apparent bad-boy reputation.

"But I have had amazing support through Dimma (Hardwick), Jack (Riewoldt) and Trent (Cotchin), the whole list.

"It means so much when you have the senior coach coming out to publicly back you and potentially open himself up to criticism.

"It shows how much care he has for his players and we don't take it for granted, that's for sure."

Lynch has played just 44 games for the Tigers but has two premierships in the bag, while former Suns teammate Dion Prestia has won three since heading home four seasons ago.

Prestia enjoyed some quiet time on the Gabba surface late on Saturday night, video-calling his family in Melbourne while sitting on the Richmond logo cradling the premiership cup.

The party then ironically moved back to the Gold Coast, where the pair played six seasons together as Suns but have now called home as Tigers for more than 100 days.

"This one was different (to the premierships in 2017 and 2019), but still so special and amazing for us to get over the line and (my family) were pretty pumped to see me win another one," Prestia said.

"I always thought we'd have success, but didn't think we'd win three premierships in four years.

"We had a lot of fun being up here and it's the journey we'll remember the most, just being together literally for 100 days under the same roof.

"It was like being on school camp."

An ankle injury had kept him off the park since round five, Prestia admitting his return for the first week of finals looked doubtful.

He booted two goals on Saturday night to continue a remarkable ride that might not be over yet.

"Our list is pretty young and the team tonight had a lot under 25, 26, so there's a fair bit more success in us," he said.

"It's hard to win, but we'll take this in and see if we can go again next year."