Tigers firm as Suns star's new home
TOM Lynch won't announce where he will play next season until that team is out of the finals race.
Richmond is believed to be in the box seat to lure the Gold Coast spearhead, who has quit the Suns.
One prominent player manager says he would be stunned if the former Suns captain wasn't at the Tigers next year.
Lynch is also being wooed by Collingwood, while Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson is working hard to convince Lynch his future lies at the Hawks.
With Richmond, Hawthorn and Collingwood all major September players, it means Lynch's decision might not be formalised for several weeks.
Speculation has grown in recent times that Lynch, 25, is set to move to Punt Rd.
The Tigers have recently signed stars Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt, Alex Rance and Dustin Martin to new contracts.
The deals are seen by some as part of a list manoeuvring to fit Lynch into the side.
Liam Pickering, who negotiated a two-year contract extension for Jack Riewoldt three weeks ago that involved sacrificing cash to help the Tigers manage their premiership list, said player managers were convinced Lynch will be at Punt Rd next year.
"My understanding, my belief, speaking to all the people we speak to in our game, is that Richmond think they've got him, Collingwood thinks he's going to Richmond, Hawthorn thinks he's going to Richmond and Richmond thinks he's going to Richmond," Pickering said.
"It would be a surprise now to be if he went anywhere but Richmond."
Pickering said he expected Gold Coast to push for the best deal it could get but he would be surprised if they became the first club to match a rival club's offer for a free agent.
And he said suggestions Hawthorn could offer to trump Richmond with a trade offer to the Suns could only get the Hawks so far.
"You've got to convince the player that he's got to do a complete about-face and change his opinion on where he really wants to go. I don't think that will happen."