Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett couldn’t be happier with teammate Tom Lynch’s decision to commit to the Suns for at least another two AFL seasons.
The key forward announced on Tuesday he had signed a two-year contract extension, reportedly worth $800,000 a season, in a major player re-signing for the Suns.
Lynch is viewed as the man who will take on the Suns’ captaincy when Ablett retires and the dual Brownlow Medallist is clearly an admirer of the towering goal-kicker’s abilities.
“He’s a fantastic leader, on and off the field,” Ablett told AAP.
“Obviously a very talented player, as most people know, and for him to commit to the club is just fantastic for us.
“We’re all stoked.”
Lynch, one of the original Suns recruits before their entry into the competition, has blossomed into one of the most-promising forwards in the competition.
The 23-year-old has booted 133 goals in 82 appearances, turning in a best-on-ground display for the Suns in the club’s first win in Perth last weekend against Fremantle.
His talent means he would have had the pick of any team in the competition had he decided to let his contract expire but Lynch says the cultural transformation at the Suns in the past 12 months had convinced him something special was happening at the club.
Ablett says Lynch’s endorsement speaks volumes for the mood within the team.
“We’ve been able to keep most of the guys that got here from the start and it’s a good sign,” he said.
“It means they love the football club, they’re committed and they understand there’s been a lot of hard work that’s gone on in the last five or six years and they want the reward for that.”
Lynch says his aspirations are no different to any other footballer – to reach a finals series, then a grand final, then a premiership.
As to succeeding the man known simply as the Son of God? Lynch is happy to bide his time in that regard.
“To captain an AFL football club would be a great honour,” he said.
“Every young player coming through aspires to be a leader and a captain.
“At the moment, I’m really enjoying my role as a vice-captain and supporting Gary, learning off him and other guys like (Michael) Rischitelli, (Nick) Malceski and (Adam) Rosa as well.
“I’ve got a lot to learn and Gary’s doing a fantastic job.”