Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said he wanted Lynch – and his entire team – to play in an aggressive manner.
“You give some, you take some. It’s a reality of the nature of the game. It’s a competitive sport. We want our guys to play aggressive, assertive footy, that’s how they play,” he said.
“We don’t want them to go over the line, but sometimes they will, which is unfortunate. I like our guys to play assertive, aggressive footy. If the backs (defenders) are there around them, they will go through them.”
However, St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt later described the whack as a “cheap shot”.
“That play we saw, Tom Lynch went on and kicked a goal. He (Collins) clearly didn’t like the treatment and that Tom Lynch got on the end of it and kicked the goal,” he said on Fox Footy.
“The precedent is there. Players are going to continue to do it because the whack (punishment) is not big enough. It is a cheap shot because you are not expecting that as a player.”
Tigers veteran Jack Riewoldt said Lynch was at his best when playing angry.
“I think that is by design. I feel he plays his best footy when he is on the edge. He is pretty scary … we know he plays his best footy when he is aggressive in the contest and sometimes there has to be a little bit of this to get him up and going,” he said.
“It’s just understanding what makes you as a player. I feel he had a really big impact in the back half of the game.”
The win leaves the Tigers only two points outside the top four with six rounds remaining. They had 25 more inside 50s than the Suns, but could not breakaway until the final term. Skipper Trent Cotchin returned from a game off and was superb, finishing with 26 disposals, including 15 contested.
Riewoldt also opened up about hub life in Queensland. The Tigers have been making headlines for their off-field demands, with many players having wives and partners and children in the hub with them. Some players had initially been reluctant to uproot for what now shapes as the rest of the season.
“There might be a bit of sugar on those stories. We are really enjoying it. We feel like we have got our own little hub which was said to be the crappy place to go and stay,” Riewoldt said.
“We really liked it and the staff there have been great to us and it has become the second Punt Road for us. We really enjoy it, we don’t have to move too far, we have got our own gyms. We think that is a real advantage for us and we enjoy being together.”
Riewoldt, after a testing start to life outside of Melbourne, has booted nine goals in his past three matches, including two against the Suns. He also took eight marks.
“I probably struggled a bit to adjust to hub life, being away from home and having a lot of things go through my head,” he said.
“I feel really comfortable where I am at at the moment and clearly as a forward you rely a bit on supply. It’s just good to get on the scoreboard and get up the ground and take a few marks. Tonight was probably my best game in the air. That’s what I pride myself on.”
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.