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The Wright lesson for Pete

He [Peter Wright] had the best defender and it was good for him to own the forward line and be the real presence down there.
GC SUNS captain, Tom Lynch

Peter Wright emerged as a key forward of the future in 2016, booting 27 goals in 17 games including a bag of five against Brisbane in QClash 12.

However, it’s easy to forget just how much Wright has benefitted from what could be deemed the ‘Tom Lynch effect' in each of his 20 AFL games so far.

The presence of the All Australian forward in attack for the SUNS means Gold Coast’s captain always draws the opposition’s best defender, with Lynch often double teamed or triple teamed which in turn allows his fellow forwards to get off the leash and impact the scoreboard.

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Charlie Dixon excelled in 2015 as Lynch’s sidekick, with Wright taking over the mantle in 2016 with great success after Dixon’s defection to Port Adelaide.

In the SUNS’ recent JLT Series win over Essendon in Mackay, Lynch was rested, handing the reins of the forward line over to Wright as Gold Coast’s sole focal point in attack.

The 20-year-old was the target on 35% of Gold Coast’s inside-50 entries, but was held to just six touches and one goal by 2014 All Australian defender Michael Hurley, ably supported by the Bombers defence as a collective.

Despite lowering his colours on the day, Lynch believes the young prodigy will take plenty of lessons from the game and will be a big improver in the club’s final pre-season game against the Western Bulldogs next Thursday.

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“It was Pete Wright’s first game of the year so he’ll be better for the run. I think he’ll improve on that next week,” Lynch told reporters at an Australia Post AFL Community Camp appearance on Monday.

“He had the best defender and it was good for him to own the forward line and be the real presence down there.

“He’ll definitely take a lot out of it and he’ll grow from that.”