From the schoolyard to the AFL field, Mitch Hallahan always knew Gold Coast forward Tom Lynch was going to be something special.
The Suns star will play his 100th AFL match against Essendon on Sunday and few have shared the journey to that mark as closely as teammate Hallahan.
The pair played junior footy together at Sorrento on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and were also in the same school growing up.
Hallahan spent three years at Hawthorn after being drafted in 2010 but was reunited with Lynch at the Suns at the end of 2014.
The 23-year-old says it’s no surprise Lynch has gone on to become one of the elite key forwards in the game.
“I’ve watched him right from when he was six, seven, eight years old,” Hallahan told AAP.
“To see him turn into the player he has, it’s no surprise. He’s a star of the game.
“Such a humble man too. He gets everything he deserves right now. He’s playing some super footy.”
Lynch will hoping to celebrate his milestone with another bag of goals against the bottom-placed Bombers as he tries to keep touch with Coleman Medal leader Josh Kennedy.
The West Coast star kicked seven majors last week to move to 67 goals for 2016, six clear of Lynch and Sydney’s Lance Franklin.
The Suns pushed finals-bound Greater Western Sydney all the way at Metricon Stadium last week, eventually falling by just eight points.
Hallahan says while the struggling Bombers look a far weaker prospect on paper, the Suns head to Etihad Stadium wary of their opponent.
“We’ve still got to turn up with that same level of intent and effort,” he said.
“If we don’t do that, we’ll get touched up.
“Essendon have proven they can beat sides and push sides this year, we’ll pay them the respect they deserve.”
Gold Coast welcome back Adam Saad and Aaron Hall to their lineup along with ruckman Keegan Brooksby.
That trio replace Sean Lemmens (omitted) and injured pair Alex Sexton (hamstring) and Tom Nicholls (knee).
The Bombers have made four changes from the team which lost by 88-points to Geelong last week.
Mathew Stokes, Jake Long, Orazio Fantasia, Jonathan Simpkin all come in for injured trio Courtenay Dempsey (hamstring), Brendon Goddard (groin) and Aaron Francis (calf) while Darcy Parish has been rested.