This time 11 years ago, going into the 2010 AFL national draft, Tom Lynch was hot property. Lynch had made extremely impressive progress throughout that year as a key forward with TAC Cup team Dandenong Stingrays, prompting plenty of interest in him among AFL recruiters. It was the competition’s fledgling club Gold Coast Suns who secured his services with their seventh pick (No. 11 overall) in the 2010 draft. Lynch had a fine career there – 131 games, 254 goals and co-captain at the club from 2017-18 – before joining Richmond as a restricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season. In three seasons at Tigerland, Lynch has been an integral member of two premiership teams and a Michael Roach Medallist (the Club’s leading goalkicker award). We take a look back now at a Herald Sun feature article on Lynch the day before the 2010 draft, followed by some phantom draft predictions on where he would end up.
A teenager being billed as Nick Riewoldt's clone could be added to Gold Coast’s list.
Tom Lynch, a raw 196cm forward from Sorrento who played TAC Cup for Dandenong Stingrays, shines on Gold Coast recruiter Scott Clayton’s radar.
Stingrays coach Graeme Yeats said the similarities between Riewoldt and Lynch were remarkable.
“If you put Tom Lynch next to Nick Riewoldt and you didn't know who they were, you’d say, ‘Gee whiz, they’re similar’,” Yeats said.
“In like-for-like, in size, in stature, and he’s even got the same blond hair.
“He’s probably not as good looking as Nick Riewoldt, but you rarely see it.
“Like Riewoldt, he just runs his opponents into the ground and they just get that leverage from their work-rate.
“There’s no fluke in the fact that there'd be plenty of clubs trying to get hold of him. He’s going to be a beauty.”
Lynch has shot up in size and prominence this year.
A Collingwood fan, he couldn't crack the Stingrays’ side last year and began this year just hoping to play well at TAC Cup level.
By June, Lynch had played all five Vic Country games at the national carnival, averaging 13 disposals and kicking a total of eight goals.
His mobility, ability to grab a strong overhead mark and his elite skills on the ground made him the stand-out tall forward in the championships.
Lynch flourished in the TAC Cup finals and was named in Dandenong’s best in his last seven games.
And with the Suns, light on for goalkicking firepower, boasting picks No. 7 and 9-11 in tonight’s draft, Lynch is warming to the idea of moving north.
“It's exciting and it’d be a pretty good lifestyle up there, being sunny every day. And to play with guys like Gary Ablett would be pretty special,” the 18-year-old said.
“But I think Mum's hoping I stay in Melbourne.”
If the Suns opt for an extra midfielder, Lynch looks likely to be snapped up by Melbourne at No. 12.
He would complement Jack Watts and Liam Jurrah in an emerging forward line.
Melbourne was the only club to speak to Lynch after the draft camp, when coach Dean Bailey and recruiting chief Barry Prendergast visited in October.
Lynch, who finished VCE exams on Friday and got his driving licence yesterday, flies to the Gold Coast this morning and admitted that, with no more distractions, his nerves were kicking in.
Paul Daffey, AFL Media phantom draft: Lynch to Gold Coast at pick 10
“Last year, Lynch played as a midfielder in the under-18s at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula.
“This year, he’s the draft's biggest bolter after finding his feet as a key forward midway through the season with the Vic Country team.
“He’s not fast; in fact, he’s slow. But he can run all day and he can mark and kick goals.
“There's oodles of development in him.”
Chris Doerre, ESPN.com.au draft expert’s phantom draft: Lynch to Gold Coast at pick 10
“High upside key position forward from a basketball background.
“Very athletic. Strong mark. Seems clever. Has good ground-level skills.
“Was a surprise in the under-18 championships and since has continued his dramatic improvement.
“Moves very well for his height. Sometimes plays like a six foot five ruck- rover.
“Really interesting prospect.
“Will take a few years to develop, but with time he could develop into a very, very good key position forward.
“Lynch has moved up the draft order in a real hurry and don’t be surprised to see him land here.
“With the way he has developed from nowhere this season, he could be anything.”
Jay Clark, Herald Sun phantom draft: Lynch to Gold Coast at pick 7
“Raw tall forward is a bit of a risk because he has played only one full season of footy, but the upside is massive.
“Great athleticism enables him to take screamers and scoop the ball off the turf at pace like a mid.
“Tigers may also be tempted.”