While there were a few West Coast supporters throwing abuse at Richmond's Ty Vickery at Patersons Stadium on Friday night, the besieged forward has the full support of his coach.
And while Damien Hardwick is happy with the aggression his key forward is showing on the field, he did question how disgruntled spectators could get so close to the Tigers bench and their resting players.
Vickery was reported for striking West Coast ruckman Dean Cox in the second term of Richmond's fourth consecutive win. He hit the six-time All-Australian flush in the jaw with an errant forearm at a boundary throw-in.
Vickery faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after Cox required assistance from the ground, and didn't return after failing a concussion test. A clearly furious West Coast coach Adam Simpson said Cox was in bad shape, but was unable to comment on the extent of the injury and refused to comment on the incident.
Vickery still has 43.75 carryover points hanging over his head following a two-week suspension for striking North Melbourne’s Michael Firrito in round 12.
But Hardwick said Vickery's style of play would be questioned by the Tigers.
"There will be enough people look at it during the week, but what I will say, I love the way Ty's been going about his footy," he said. "He has been incredible for us over the past four or five weeks. His attack on the ball's been outstanding.
"To me he's a hard, tough player. That's what we want at the Tigers. At the end of the day, sometimes you step outside the boundaries. The rules are there - we know the rules. He's a hard, tough Richmond player and that's how we like him."
Vickery kicked two goals in the opening half in Friday night's 17-point win, taking his tally to 10.4 in the four weeks since returning from suspension. The Tigers have won all four of those games.
He kicked 13 goals in his previous eight games this season.
His strike on Cox came just seconds after the Eagles ruckman appeared to have struck Vickery in the stomach, leaving him bent over.
The minutes after Cox left the ground were chaotic. Small scuffles broke out around the ground, with Vickery in the middle of most of them and after he was knocked over by Eagle forward Mark LeCras behind play he went to the bench for a breather.
He attracted the attention of many of the 32,270 fans at the stadium. TV commentator and former Richmond star forward Matthew Richardson said he too received abuse - "don’t they know I have been retired for five years?"
But it was the actions of two West Coast fans who were able to lean over the dug-out and abuse the Richmond bench that upset Hardwick the most.
"At the end of the day, if you have a couple of lunatics hanging over the fence, yelling abuse … I don't know another profession in the world where you can walk into a bank teller and start calling them names like that," he said.
"It is what it is, I would prefer it if Ty didn't react, probably, to the fans, but it's a volatile game - it's a hard game."
Richmond moves to a 7-10 record with five games remaining, starting with next Saturday's clash with Greater Western Sydney at the MCG. The last time the Tigers met the Giants, in round 10, they smashed them by 113 points on the back of Jack Riewoldt's 12 goals.
The Tigers are now two wins behind eighth-placed Collingwood, who plays Adelaide at the MCG on Sunday.
But Hardwick won't buy into any talk about finals.
"All we have to worry about is winning our next game, from our point of view," he said. "We have set ourself some pretty lofty standards in the back end of the year, so we just have to maintain the consistency and the form we are in.
"We think our best footy is good enough to win a lot of games - unfortunately we haven't shown that towards the start of the year - which is really disappointing, so it's probably good reward for our fans.
"As Jack [Riewoldt] said last week, they go to work and they go to work happy."