THE Brownlow medal hopes of Nat Fyfe hang in the balance after he elbowed Tom Lynch in the head during Richmond’s 25-point win over Fremantle on Sunday.
Fyfe collected Lynch in the head just after the Tigers forward had disposed of the ball.
Although Lynch was able to play on and the contact wasn’t severe, the high nature of it could land Fyfe in strife.
Fyfe’s saving grace could be the fact that Geelong star Gary Ablett successfully appealed his suspension for a similar incident last week.
Richmond overcame the early loss of Toby Nankervis (groin) and Jack Ross (ankle) to post the fighting 17.9 (111) to 12.14 (86) win at Optus Stadium.
Nankervis and Ross were both put on ice before half-time, leaving the Tigers with just two fit men on the bench.
With Nankervis forced off, 192cm defender Nathan Broad and 194cm Noah Balta were forced to share the ruck duties against the 206cm Rory Lobb.
Lobb (45 hitouts, six clearances) ended up monstering Broad and Balta in the ruck.
But instead of meekly putting up the white flag, Richmond produced a series of stunning goals in the second half to secure their fifth win of the year.
Shai Bolton booted four goals in a breakout game, while Tom Lynch and Jason Castagna kicked two each.
Lynch finished with six contested marks in a strong display, but missed two simple shots he should have nailed.
Castagna produced a goal of the year contender when he burned off Adam Cerra in the pocket, took a bounce, before snapping truly.
Fyfe finished with 33 disposals, eight clearances, and three goals in a standout display, but he now faces a nervous wait.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon warned his players to prepare for a Richmond ambush, but it didn’t seem like they got the message.
The Tigers booted four goals in the opening 10 minutes – including two to Bolton – to open up a 25-0 lead.
But the rest of the term belonged to Fremantle as a rampant Fyfe helped drag his team back into the contest.
The most bizarre moment of the term occurred when Nankervis was slapped with consecutive 50m penalties for not giving the ball back to Fyfe in time.
Nankervis injured his groin in innocuous fashion in the first quarter and hobbled on in the second before being ruled out.
And when Ross was forced off with a left ankle injury after Fyfe had accidentally trod on him, the Tigers looked to be in trouble.
Richmond led by just 13 points at half time and needed to find a way to keep Fremantle at bay.
Although Lobb helped Fremantle win the clearances 43-32, Richmond’s frenetic run-and-stun game plan produced excellent results.
© AAP 2019
RICHMOND 4.3 7.4 13.8 17.9 (111)
FREMANTLE 3.2 5.3 8.11 12.14 (86)
Goals: Richmond: S Bolton 4 J Castagna 2 T Lynch 2 B Ellis D Martin J Caddy K Lambert K McIntosh L Baker N Balta N Broad S Stack. Fremantle: N Fyfe 3 J Hogan 2 S Switkowski 2 B Matera D Mundy M Taberner R Lobb T Colyer.
Best: Richmond: S Bolton B Houli T Lynch D Martin K Lambert. Fremantle: N Fyfe R Lobb M Walters D Mundy M Taberner.
Injuries: Richmond: J Ross (ankle) T Nankervis (groin). Fremantle: Nil.
Official Crowd: 42,641 at Optus Stadium.