Friday 2 December 2016

Melbourne seek Dubs clash for Stynes

Daragh Conchir

Published 16/12/2010 | 05:00

AFL club Melbourne want to stage a special International Rules match with Dublin at Croke Park or Parnell Park next year to honour the sporting achievements of Jim Stynes.

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The Demons' president joined the club in 1984 just a matter of weeks after featuring on the last Dublin team to win an All-Ireland minor football title and went on to become a legend, not just of the club, but in Aussie Rules football.

Stynes, who is currently battling cancer, became the only non-Australian to win the Brownlow Medal as AFL player of the year in 1991 and still holds the record for most consecutive games played in the league.

He was named on the Demons' best ever team and subsequently helped to wipe out the club's AUS$5m debt when taking over as president.

Melbourne chief executive, Cameron Schwab, plans to approach the AFL with his proposal for the game early in the New Year before putting the idea to the GAA.

"It's a seed of an idea at the moment that basically, if it all came together, would go back to where it all started for Jimmy," Schwab said.

"Dublin was where he grew up. His brother Brian played for Dublin in the 1995 All-Ireland final, as well as a few games for Melbourne and, of course, the latter half of Jim's life has been here (in Australia).

"His story is Irish and Australian and significant in both countries. His documentary, which aired here a few months ago, was shown in Ireland last week to a tremendous response.

"If we could take our team to Dublin, to share Jim's achievements with the Irish, it would be a wonderful thing."

Stynes' 264-game AFL career with Melbourne, which included a club-record four best and fairest awards, ended in 1998 but he returned to the club as president in 2008, a position he has continued to hold throughout his near 18-month struggle with an aggressive form of cancer that was first found in his back and has spread to his brain.

Stynes has also been awarded a medal of the Order of Australia for his work with the Reach youth charity he co-founded, while he has also been voted Melburnian and Victorian of the Year in the past.



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