Tigers spearhead takes another step on road to recovery

Tom Lynch is back running after a foot injury derailed most of his 2023 season

RICHMOND’S Tom Lynch has made significant progress in his recovery from a foot injury, with the important key forward back running.

Lynch missed most of the 2023 season due to a slow recovery after breaking his right foot against the Western Bulldogs in round four.

The 31-year-old booted nine goals in the opening four rounds of the season on the back of a standout 2022, where he kicked 63 goals in his best return since joining the Tigers at the end of 2018.

Richmond midfielder Jack Graham said it was going to be “pretty handy” to have Lynch back in the side, following the retirement of fellow forward Jack Riewoldt.

“It’s great just to see Tom out and about and running on grass for the first time in about eight months,” Graham told reporters on Tuesday.

“It’s been tough for him but at the same time you probably wouldn’t know what he’s been through, with the energy and the vibe he brings to the club.

“He rocks up everyday with a smile on his face, so to see him progress and get out onto the field, it’s great.

“It’s going to be pretty handy to have big ‘Lynchy’ back.”

While Graham is excited to see the spearhead nearing a return, Tigers physical performance manager Luke Meehan said last week that it would continue to be a slow build for the key forward, with the Tigers focussing on ensuring the star’s long-term availability.

“We all want to get Tom out there and into the footy drills as soon as possible, but we need to understand that he had a really long period off, he had eight months without running,” Meehan said.

“He’s going to work his tail off to get back as soon as he can, but we need to be really smart and have Tom available for as long as possible this year.”

Meanwhile Graham is enjoying one of his most consistent pre-seasons in recent times after a run of injury-hampered summers, and said everyone at the club was thrilled with the “good vibe” new coach Adem Yze had brought.

The former Melbourne assistant coach was appointed as the permanent successor to triple premiership coach Damien Hardwick in September and had already brought about some welcome change at Tigerland.

“The club’s in a really good spot, and ‘Ooze’ (Yze) has come in and brought a really good vibe and everyone’s up and about,” he said.

“‘Ziebs’ (assistant coach Jack Ziebell) and ‘Newy’ (assistant coach Chris Newman) as well, just the fresh faces and new terminology, the boys are really learning and hooking into it and once we continue to build and show it out on the field, it’s going to be exciting.”

Richmond will face Collingwood in the first official pre-season game at Ikon Park on Tuesday, February 27 before travelling to face Gold Coast in Opening Round on Saturday, March 9.

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