Gerard Whateley has teed off on the decision to send hot-headed Richmond forward Tom Lynch to the tribunal.
Speaking on SEN today, Whateley said the system was “totally backwards” and slammed the tribunal appearance as “something that simply doesn’t warrant such drastic action”.
“If I’m rostered to sit on the tribunal this week, I’m confused to have the Tom Lynch case coming my way… and I’m not really sure what to do with it,” he said.
“We’ve got this strange circumstance where he’s been referred to the tribunal for, let’s be really clear about this, for being a naughty boy and I’m not sure that’s really what the judicial system is for.”
Lynch has been sent directly to the tribunal after being charged with striking Essendon’s Michael Hurley in Saturday’s spiteful clash.
“If Lynch hadn’t put himself on such a short leash, I doubt it draws any attention at all,” Whateley said.
“While it might read like four incidents in four games, the only one of any note was the roundhouse to the guts of (Gold Coast’s) Sam Collins.
“As a result, he’s now due at the tribunal for something that simply doesn’t warrant such drastic action.”
Some AFL experts have come out in support of Lynch’s actions, arguing Hurley was the aggressor.
“Michael Hurley was running back trying to chop him on the hand. What’s Tom meant to do? … I would have done the same thing,” Wayne Carey said.
Ex-player, now AFLW coach, Daniel Harford agreed.
“I reckon when you’ve got someone trying to break your broken hand you’re entitled to respond accordingly,” he said.
Lynch had been treading a fine line in 2020 after repeated fines for off-the-ball blows.
It’s the third striking charge for Lynch this season, while he was also fined for shoving Lion Alex Witherden’s head into the turf.
Whateley said if the AFL felt Lynch’s latest action was enough to warrant a suspension, then it should have suspended him.
“So when the tribunal passes judgment, does it send Lynch to the naughty corner for a match and rule him out of the West Coast blockbuster? Or does the tribunal judge this incident on its merits and issue a parking fine? Or does it throw the case out because it’s based on a player’s history rather than on a player’s actions?”
If suspended, Lynch will miss this Thursday’s crucial clash with West Coast.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 5pm (EST) tonight.