Tigers’ Lynch set for limited minutes on AFL return

Anna Harrington |

Tom Lynch is one of three Tigers stars expected to return from injury and face the Blues.
Tom Lynch is one of three Tigers stars expected to return from injury and face the Blues.

Richmond coach Adem Yze is confident returning spearhead Tom Lynch can have an impact in limited minutes against Carlton as the Tigers seek a response to their opening-round flop.

Lynch, Dustin Martin and Tony Nankervis will all feature in Thursday night’s AFL blockbuster at the MCG after sitting out Saturday night’s 39-point loss to Gold Coast.

Brilliant key forward Lynch hasn’t played since breaking his foot in round four last year but has been carefully built up and will clearly give Richmond more structure up forward.

“He would have struggled to get up for a five-day break. So the plan around him playing this game was just the smartest option. But he’s got a good block of training,” Yze said.

“But we’ve got to temper that with the fact that we’re still going to manage him through his first game of footy for 12 months.

“So he’s not going to have massive game time, he’s going to be off the ground, which he’s not gonna like.

“But … he’s too important for us to go out and string him out for 100 minutes of the game. But it’s just good to have the big fella back.”

Yze was confident the patient build-up to Lynch’s recovery would allow the hulking forward to make an impact against the Blues.

“He’s a competitive guy that he’ll want to have an impact on the game,” Yze said.

“So he’s ready to play, we’ll just manage his game time.

“Not to say that he’ll play 50 per cent because we need him out there a fair bit more than that.”

Martin will balance his time between midfield and attack on his return from a corked calf.

Dustin Martin.
Tigers superstar Dustin Martin in training ahead of his AFL return. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Richmond have also welcomed back forward Rhyan Mansell from his pre-season syndesmosis injury.

Yze axed former Hawk Jacob Koschitzke, Sam Banks, Sam Naismith and Samson Ryan.

Carlton included Corey Durdin on the bench, with Sam Docherty (ACL) the only exclusion.

Richmond shipped 11 goals in a row against the Suns to trail by 67 points in the second quarter but responded to spare some blushes.

“I thought our response came after half-time so we’re hoping we’ve found that formula and hope we just start that way,” Yze said.

“Our players would be embarrassed with the way we started.

“We reviewed that. We had the review really quickly, obviously with the five-day break.

“So we did that. We had a bit of cleansing session over in the Gold Coast to get that out of the way so that when we walked back in the building here we could focus on Carlton. So our players have done that really well.”

Yze admitted inexperienced key backs Josh Gibcus and Tylar Young would have their work cut out against Blues power forwards Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.

Suns talls Ben King and Jack Lukosius put Richmond’s defence to the sword first-up.

“We’ve got some options but I think that’s gonna keep me up at night, the two big forwards for the Blues,” Yze said.

“They’re two amazing players and (an) awesome opportunity for some young players, hopefully.”