The Courier-Mail

Suns Lynchpin shines on

- GREG DAVIS @gregdavis_cmail

GOLD Coast spearhead Tom Lynch emphatical­ly removed the “emerging’’ from his “emerging AFL star’’ tag with a dominant individual performanc­e in Saturday’s QClash 10 victory over Brisbane at the Gabba.

In an ominous warning to the rest of the competitio­n, the Suns vice-captain (pictured) feels he has plenty of room for improvemen­t as both a key forward and a leader.

In an injury-riddled season of doom and gloom at Carrara, Lynch continued to be a shining light for the Gold Coast with five goals, 18 disposals and nine marks to claim the Marcus Ashcroft medal for beston-ground.

The red-hot Lynch has booted 13 goals in his past three outings and has clunked 41 marks in the past five weeks.

The way he grabbed the latest instalment of the Sunshine Stoush by the scruff of the neck through his skill, courage, work rate and sheer physical presence lifted the Suns to victory in the same manner that Lion king Jonathan Brown used to inspire in Brisbane.

Once the Suns get their first-choice midfield back in 2016 to deliver him the ball, the 199cm, 101kg power forward will be near unstoppabl­e.

But the 22-year-old is not getting carried away.

“I’ve managed to get on the end of a couple of goals in the last few weeks which has been nice. The boys up the field have been getting it in quicker which has certainly helped me,’’ he said.

“We overused the ball a bit against Brisbane and looked for the perfect option but when we went long and direct, we were able to use our advantage down there. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but we’ll take it.’’

Lynch is right in the mix to be the next long-term captain of the club but is content to soak up the “wisdom’’ of old heads Gary Ablett, Michael Rischitell­i and Nick Malceski.

“It’s only my second year in the leadership group so I am enjoying learning from the other guys. I’ve got a long way to go before I can start to think about being captain,’’ Lynch said.

“It’s been a massive focus at the club this year to improve the leadership from everyone around the club.’’

Lynch and Charlie Dixon combined for eight goals against the Lions, but the partnershi­p’s days are numbered.

Brisbane have virtually conceded off-contract Dixon will go to Port Adelaide to link with former Suns assistant coaches Ken Hinkley and Shaun Hart but the Gold Coast have not given up hope of retaining the Cairns product.

“We’d obviously love Charlie to stay. We’re not sure what he will do,’’ Lynch said.

“It’s a reality of footy that blokes come off contract. Dicko is probably more highprofil­e than others. Hopefully he will stay but we’ll find out soon enough.’’

Meanwhile, the 2015 season is almost certainly over for Lions midfielder Nick Robertson after he sustained a hamstring injury in the NEAFL on Saturday.

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