Most key position prospects are nurtured through their first few seasons in the game. They are typically given time to develop in the reserves or nestled alongside experienced players who have spent years honing their craft.
Not Tom Lynch. The Gold Coast SUNS key forward has been thrown into the deep end since the club’s arrival in the competition. He has regularly drawn the opposition’s best defender, often having another player or two drop into his space.
In a breakout season last year, Lynch announced himself as one of the game’s best emerging forwards. The 22-year-old booted 46.25 from 22 appearances to finish 13th in the Coleman medal race.
Ahead of his fifth season at the elite level, Lynch allowed himself some time to mentally and physically freshen up after last year’s taxing campaign, before embarking on another gruelling summer in Carrara.
“I focused on freshening up over the off-season. I had probably a month off running and then managed to get back into it,” Lynch told SUNS TV on Tuesday afternoon.
“(I’m) just sort of focusing on improving my strengths from last year and my weaknesses as well.
“I wanted to get a little bit stronger in the gym and maintain my running ability. So, that was one of my big focuses coming in (to the pre-season).”
After a tough initiation for a young key-position player – especially for a key forward – Lynch sees a bright future inside attacking 50 at the SUNS.
“Any player in their first few years, it’s tough, especially in the forward line we didn’t get a lot of opportunities. It’s good we’re getting that forward line group together,” he said.
“It will also be good to have Jack Martin for hopefully most of the year this year. We’ve got big Peter Wright down there now, (who is) a young player coming through.”
Lynch revealed new coach Rodney Eade’s desire to add more strings to his bow in 2015. The Victorian tall forward is likely to spend more time playing higher up the ground, commanding the ball through the wings.
“He’s been good, he’s sort of told me where I am going to play but he said it could change a bit and move a bit higher up the ground. I think he wants us to be pretty flexible in any position,” Lynch said.