TOM PROVES LINK MAN FOR CROWS

NT News - - MAD MON­DAY - MICHELAN­GELO RUCCI

TOM Lynch works be­tween the Crows mid­field and at­tack in a vi­tal role that does not eas­ily fit in Aus­tralian foot­ball’s tra­di­tional tags for po­si­tions.

He is a for­ward – but more. A “link for­ward” might be the best term to em­pha­sise he is the key man who con­nects the Ade­laide for­wards when the Crows start that vi­tal tran­si­tion from de­fence to at­tack.

Too of­ten now, the gap be- tween the “maul” in the back half and the Crows for­wards told to hold their feet in their zone is vast.

And the key to quick – and dam­ag­ing – ball move­ment to Tay­lor Walker, Josh Jenk­ins, Mitch McGovern and Ed­die Betts is Lynch.

“As funny as it sounds, I play a high half-for­ward role and I don’t pinch too much in the mid­field,” says Lynch of his work.

“That is my role in that front six — it is unique in the game. Not too many peo­ple play my role.”

The All-Aus­tralian se­lec­tors fi­nally noted, cer­tainly a sea­son late, Lynch’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties last month with his first nom­i­na­tion – among the record eight at Ade­laide – for the AFL team of the year.

There is very lit­tle dif­fer­ence be­tween Lynch’s num­bers in 2016 and this sea­son.

Lynch’s dis­posal av­er­age is the same, 20. By goals – 42 last sea­son to 29 this year – there prob­a­bly should have been an All-Aus­tralian nom­i­na­tion in 2016.

“I feel I have been quite con­sis­tent over the past few years,” Lynch said.

“Ob­vi­ously, the per­for­mance of the team helps along the way (to get recog­ni­tion out­side the club).

“It was eight guys nom­i­nated ... It’s been a con­sis­tent cou­ple of years, but the (All Aus­tralian nom­i­na­tion) is as much as ben­e­fit of play­ing in a good team.”

Lynch, who cel­e­brated his 27th birth­day on Fri­day, this sea­son stepped up to the Ade­laide lead­er­ship group with fel­low for­ward Betts. It is another mo­ment that moves Lynch from the back of the room with a “reclu­sive” im­age.

“I’m en­joy­ing it – and it is hum­bling be­cause the play­ers vote on it,” Lynch said. “And it makes it easy when you’ve got such a group to work with.

“Lead­er­ship ex­tends be­yond the lead­er­ship group here. And that is why we are in a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal. If you just have six lead­ers at a club, you are not go­ing to get any­where.

“We be­lieve the di­rec­tion of the team goes be­yond the lead­er­ship group – to 15, 16 guys who have re­ally im­proved in that field. And I would not be sur­prised if the lead­er­ship group changes again next sea­son be­cause there are so many lead­ers be­ing de­vel­oped.”

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