Five games into the 2016 premiership season and Gold Coast spearhead Tom Lynch was on track for a 100-goal season, something that hasn’t been achieved in the AFL since Lance Franklin cracked the ton playing for Hawthorn in 2008.

The SUNS vice-captain had booted 22 goals in five appearances to lead the Coleman Medal race early in the season with his side averaging 55 inside 50s per game, ranked eighth in the competition.

However, over the next six weeks, the SUNS would average just 38.6 inside 50s per game (18th in the competition) and with the supply to the forwards dried up, Lynch kicked just 13 goals in that period.

Lynch would finish 2016 with 66 goals, equal third in the Coleman Medal. Always the team man, the key forward also finished equal third in the competition for goal assists and led the league in contested marks for the second straight season.

Numbers well and truly in the elite bracket, reflected by champion Jonathan Brown’s comments a month ago declaring Lynch the ‘best player in the game’.

Lynch’s season was capped off on Friday night at Southport Sharks with a second consecutive Gold Coast SUNS Club Champion trophy. Whilst proud of his own achievements, Lynch’s focus is clearly on team success in the red and gold.

“Obviously you don’t play for individual awards, you want team success, so it was disappointing not to have team success this year but I can be proud of my achievements,” Lynch told SUNS TV shortly after accepting the Club Champion trophy.

“I felt like every year I’ve been building, I’m still not there yet, but I felt like every year I’ve made some steps forward.”

Last week also delivered a maiden All Australian berth for the Sorrento product, named in a forward pocket in the AFL’s team of the year alongside Coleman Medal winner Josh Kennedy and the game’s premier small forward Eddie Betts.

Congratulations Lynchy, 2016 #AllAustralian team!

A photo posted by Gold Coast SUNS (@gcsuns) on Sep 1, 2016 at 4:07am PDT

“I never sort of aim for these things but I was quite honoured,” Lynch said.

“You look at the guys around the room they are all amazing players in the competition so to be rubbing shoulders with them was pretty daunting and a massive privilege.”

The past season also saw Lynch take another step forward in the leadership space, thriving in the role of acting captain alongside Steven May in skipper Gary Ablett’s absence.

He has long been earmarked as the next captain of the Gold Coast Football Club and seems destined to step into the role when the time is right.

“I think I enjoyed my role as captain in Gaz’s absence, he’s been a super leader for us but I really enjoyed alongside Maysie, being captain when there wasn’t many leaders out there,” he said.

“There was (Jarrod) Harbrow, (Matt) Rosa and (Nick) Malceski, there was a fair few out. I’ve enjoyed my role so far, but we will wait and see what happens in the future.”

After a disappointing season that generated just six wins after four last year, Lynch is looking ahead to a successful 2017 campaign.

Emerging talents such as Jack Martin, Touk Miller, Alex Sexton and Brayden Fiorini have all showed glimpses of a future that appears bright on the Gold Coast.

“I’m looking forward to next year,” Lynch said.

“We were really disappointed with our year. I think we’ve got a lot of guys coming through.

“Jack Martin’s come through tonight in the B&F which is an amazing achievement. He’s only played 40-odd games and for him to do that is a massive sign for the future.

“Those guys are creating a really good core group, as you saw in the last game Brayden Fiorini came through and had 32 touches. We’re only going to see upside.”