MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 19: Coach Damien Hardwick talks to Tom Lynch during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval on November 19, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has leapt to Tom Lynch’s defence, slamming former teammate Matthew Lloyd in the process.

Earlier in the week, Lloyd took aim at Lynch, suggesting the Richmond forward had become a “liability” at the Tigers, after kicking just one goal over his past three weeks.

However, on Friday, Hardwick responded to Lloyd, and had a few little quips for the Essendon legend.

“I’d love ‘Lloydy’ to spell the word ‘liability’, it’d be interesting, wouldn’t it?” Hardwick said.

“We’ll just worry about what we can control; he’s second in the Coleman I think, last time I looked.

“At the end of the day, it’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and throw out barbs, isn’t it?

“But we certainly know what we value Tom for … he’s an incredible player for us, and he’s going to get better.”

Hardwick then went on to address Lynch’s performances in yellow and black, and believes that while he’s got better football in him, the Tigers are happy with the progress he’s made so far.

“We’ve been through this path before with (recruits) Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy and Toby Nankervis, they took a little while to come through our system and learn it,” he said.

“It’s a different system, and Tom’s adjusting to that.

“We spoke about it at the start of the year, we knew that, so we’re very happy with where he’s at.

“Can he play better? He can, there’s no doubt about it.

“But I look at the game (against the Western Bulldogs) and I look at it pretty heavily, and there’s probably some contests that he didn’t get rewarded for by the umpiring department, probably could have got three kicks inside 50 for three goals, and we wouldn’t be having the same conversation.”