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#1 Lisbon

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    Joe Marmo

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:12 AM

The season is about to start, and I'm surfing the web to find out the latest news about the AFL, so that I can talk about them when I call my first game on Eurosport this year, come next Saturday.
I go to the Age's website, and that dreadful, dreaded, yet unexpected, piece of news hits me with all it's force. Jim Stynes is dead. Dead.
I could think about little else today.
Jim Stynes is dead, just when I thought he would actually manage to live forever, one day at a time. Like our Ted, he fell to cancer. Like our Ted he met death head on, without flinching. Like our Ted, we'll mourn him forever more.
He was that rarest of beings, the truly great Man. He's gone now, and leaves all of us for his orphans.
I feel like taking refuge in the old sayings. May he rest in peace. May the Lord bless him and keep him. Or, as we say around here, my the earth be light upon his grave.
But he's still dead. And we still have to mourn him. And thank him for all that he has done.

#2 Caveman

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    Arthur Olliver

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 02:37 AM

It is probably the most remarkable story in Australian Football- that of Jim Stynes.

Jimmy Stynes holds one record that will probably last for the same duration that the previous incumbent (whom he took it from) Jack Titus of Richmond. That is the record of most consecutive matches. Jack Titus held this record (204 games) for around 50 years. It will remain with Jim Stynes quite possibly for just as long- if not for more years,

Winning the Brownlow is arguably the most amazing of all achievements. Jim Stynes won the highest individual award in this sport, less than 10 years after first playing the game. Yet not only that it would have been within 10 years of actually having first WATCHED an actual game of Aussie Rules!

Brownlow Medal winners have tended to live on to a reasonable age. Especially those that have won it inside the last 50 years. Jim Stynes unfortunately is not part of this group.

Every winner since 1991 is still living. Prior to last Tuesday and Jim Stynes we have to go back to the 1972 as Len Thompson was the last non-living Brownlow Medallist. In fact after 1954 won by Roy Wright, all Brownlow Medal winners are still with us except -

1961 - John James
1972 - Len Thompson
1991- Jim Stynes

John James was 76 years old when he died in December 2010 and Len Thompson died in September 2007 at the age of 60.

Outside of these examples- Haydn Bunton was killed in a car accident aged 44 in 1955, Bill Hutchison was 59 when he died in 1982. Marcus Whelan died in 1973, like Billy Hutchison also in his 59th year and 8 years before his famous Grand daughter Nicky Whelan was born in 1981. Another winner died tragically- taking his own life before he reached 40. So there are a few Brownlow Medallists who have departed way too early- and Jim Stynes joins this small group.

All of the 12 canonical Victorian clubs (1925-1981) have endured their share of tragedies. Yet I find that Melbourne seems to be one that has more than most disasters.They lost a lot of players in World War 2, recently the other part of the Irish experiment- Sean Wight also died prematurely from lung cancer yet the multi-talented sportsman Sean Wight wasn't a smoker.

I well remember that last game of season 1987 where Melbourne beat us at the Western Oval in front of a crowd of over 30,000. One of their stars was Sean Wight- I found it hard to believe that 2 blokes from overseas could adapt to the game so quickly and so competently. Wight was actually Scottish although he was always referred to as Irish- Wight and Stynes the 'Irish experiment' that worked so well as Melbourne swept past us and went into the finals- destroying North Melbourne and then Sydney before that much documented after the siren loss in the Preliminary Final against Hawthorn.

This is a true tragedy- a young woman and two children. The kids have no father any more, their young mother would now write on legal documents her marital status as WIDOW .

Jim Stynes left his mark on the game and Victorian society. He lived a decent life which has ended way too early.




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