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Lynch pushing to make Dusty’s milestone match, Green hits back at critics over Sicily hit

Richmond spearhead Tom Lynch will push to make his long-awaited return from a hamstring problem in teammate Dustin Martin’s 300th game.

But fellow Tigers stalwart Dion Prestia will miss Saturday’s clash with Hawthorn at the MCG through his latest soft-tissue injury setback.

Elsewhere, Adelaide will hope to regain star playmaker Izak Rankine and forward Taylor Walker from their respective injuries as they host ladder-leading Sydney.

Lynch, who missed most of last season with a foot injury, hasn’t played since undergoing hamstring surgery after the round-three win over the Swans.

He is listed as a “test” and would offer a huge boost to the Tigers as they look to celebrate Martin’s milestone with a win.

Richmond have the bye after the Hawthorn game and could yet opt to give Lynch more recovery time.

Prestia will miss one-to-two weeks with a soleus strain in his calf.

Rankine is attempting to return from a hamstring injury, which has sidelined him since round 10, against Sydney.

“Izak has done everything that we’ve asked him to do and completed all the objective markers,” Crows fitness boss Darren Burgess said.

“His last test will be to get through training on Wednesday night, and assuming he does that then I’m pretty sure he will make himself available for selection.

“He had a big session last Friday and moved really well, and backed that up again yesterday, so there’s no reason at the moment why he won’t play on the weekend.”

Walker missed last week’s loss to Richmond with a back issue.

“(Walker) was a little bit sore in his back last week but he completed a pretty solid running session on Monday and assuming he gets through training on Wednesday then he will put his hand up for selection as well,” Burgess said.

Key Greater Western Sydney pair Josh Kelly and Jack Buckley will push to return and face Port Adelaide after their respective calf injuries.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Power skipper Connor Rozee will return from an ankle injury, while Willie Rioli (calf) will have to prove his fitness.

Western Bulldogs defender Alex Keath will miss five-to-seven weeks with a hamstring problem.

But Cody Weightman (elbow reconstruction) and Ed Richards (concussion)  will push to return against Fremantle.

St Kilda defender Dougal Howard will miss a month after injuring his hamstring against Gold Coast.

Essendon have suffered a fresh blow with mid-season draftee Saad El-Hawli requiring syndesmosis surgery that will sideline him for six-to-eight weeks.

El-Hawli had scored four goals in a best-on-ground VFL debut for the Bombers but got his leg caught under him in a tackle.

Green responds to critics over Sicily incident

Greater Western Sydney star Tom Green knows he won’t be objective over the controversial free kick that ended up deciding his side’s AFL loss to Hawthorn.

But the Giants midfielder says he had no choice but to put pressure on James Sicily as the Hawks captain had a long-range snap late in Saturday’s Launceston clash.

Green made contact with Sicily a fraction late, with the kick going out on the full.

Luke Breust was paid the free kick downfield and his goal gave Hawthorn a six-point win.

“I have watched it back. I don’t know if my opinion is the most objective, so I’m not sure it’s worth anything, and I understand umpiring is a hard gig – tough decisions have to be made,” Green said on Tuesday.

“In my opinion, I made a legitimate play, putting pressure on James Sicily.

“If he wheels around there under no pressure, he’s going to kick a goal.”

Giants teammate Callan Ward was on the bench when the free was paid against Green and said his reaction was “no way”, adding the call was “pretty frustrating”.

“That’s the way footy goes sometimes. When you bump a guy like that, especially in a pressure moment … he probably didn’t have to bump him, that’s the risk you take,” Ward said.

The loss means GWS have lost four of their last five games, with coach Adam Kingsley acknowledging the Giants are in a mid-season lull.

Commentator and Giants board member Jimmy Bartel was scathing after the Launceston loss, saying the side are not learning from their mistakes and are lacking attention to detail.

“I don’t think it was a step back, but we’re certainly not progressing like we were at the start of the year and the way that we’d like,” Green said of the Hawthorn loss.

“We’re still learning a lot of stuff – last year we finished the year really, really well and so there are a lot of expectations.

“It’s definitely fair commentary from Jimmy … he wouldn’t be alone in thinking that.

“I suppose it’s a good challenge, when someone like that, within your club as well, is challenging you in that way.”

The Giants host Port Adelaide on Sunday, with the both teams badly needing a win.

Green is looking forward to midfield match-ups against Zak Butters, Jason Horne-Francis and probably Connor Rozee, who is set to return from injury.

“You don’t want to get too wrapped up in seeing exactly what they’re doing and taking away from your own game,” he said. “But you have to have an understanding of what they’re doing, because they’re such great players.

“If you go in under-prepared, they can really make you pay. There is a balance.”

Green is managing an ankle injury he suffered a month ago, but stressed it was not affecting him too much. “It’s taken some ongoing management, but it’s OK. It hasn’t given me too much trouble,” he said.

The 23-year-old is also acutely aware that opponents are trying to curb his influence, crediting Giants midfield coach Ben Hart with helping him deal with the added attention..

“It is something that this year I’ve faced a whole lot more,” he said.”In that way, it is a compliment. Opposing teams understand that I can contribute to us winning the game – it’s stuff you have to face and deal with.

“I feel I’ve gotten better at dealing with it.”


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