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Remembering a gentleman of the AFL and inspiration in life

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 20 Mar 2012

Greens’ spokesperson for sport and former VFA footballer, Senator Richard Di Natale, said today that Australia has not only lost a great footballer with the passing of Jim Stynes, but we have also lost a great Australian.

“We lost more than a footballer today, we lost a great Australian and he will be sadly missed.

“Jim Stynes was a young Gaelic footballer, who came to the AFL as part of a bold experiment by the Melbourne Football Club. He became part of football folklore when he ran across the mark at a critical moment in the 1987 Preliminary Final and then several years later went on to win a Brownlow medal. Today he is remembered for so much more.

“He was a wonderful athlete and the prototype for the modern mobile ruckman. He went on to be one of the game’s most decorated and respected players. He not only made his mark on the Melbourne Football Club but on the game itself, and his legacy reaches far beyond the world of football.

“After retiring Jim went on to found the Reach Foundation, an organisation dedicated to helping young people inspire one another and to promote their mental health and wellbeing. His dedication to young people transformed many lives and the organisation he created will continue that mission into the future.

“Jim returned to the Melbourne Football Club at a time of need and his leadership was inspirational. While fighting for his life, his courage and determination shone through. 

“And it is perhaps in these last few years that we glimpsed the true greatness of Jim Stynes. Nothing could dampen his determination or his enthusiasm for life. In fact, he spoke of the circumstances he faced as a privilege and an opportunity to learn and grow.

“I have seen many patients with cancer in my time in medical practice but it is rare to find a person who was able to find such strength and joy. He continued to give so much, in so many ways, when he could have been forgiven for withdrawing from public life.

“I did not know Jim personally but I grew up watching him play footy and have been inspired by his work and attitude ever since. I join with many across the country to offer my condolences to his wife, Samantha, his young kids, Matisse and Tiernan, and his wider family and friends.”

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