The AFL paid an emotional tribute to Jim Stynes at the Brownlow Medal as Richmond onballer Daniel Jackson won an award named after the much-loved Irishman.
Stynes’ brother Brian could not contain his tears as he spoke on stage before presenting the inaugural Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award to Jackson during the count.
Jim Stynes, the 1991 Brownlow Medallist, died of cancer in March this year.
He was also president of Melbourne, where he forged his outstanding playing career.
Stynes also was legendary for his community work and he helped the Reach Foundation, which works with youth.
There was also a touching video presentation honouring Stynes, which featured a series of tributes from his family and friends in Ireland.
“We are all very grateful (for) and amazed by the kindness, respect and generosity of spirit that everybody has given to us, and especially (from) the football community,” Brian said haltingly.
Jackson returned from a holiday in the United States and Mexico to receive the award.
Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell and Gold Coast player Jarrod Harbrow were the other nominees.
Jackson is on the Australian board of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organisation, which mentors young people.
He is also an ambassador for Headspace, a national mental youth foundation, and is a guest speaker for Step Back Think, which campaigns against violence.
“After listening to Brian, I was pretty glad I didn’t have to say anything … that was extremely emotional and of course it was going to be,” Jackson said.
“For me, it’s a real honour, but more so it’s just very humbling to even be considered for an award associated with a man of the character of Jimmy Stynes.
“When I was a kid, I used to love going to watch him (play) – I thought he was a giant as a player.
“As I became a player in my own right, the things I really looked up to him for were just his passion and his commitment to the things he did off field.”
At the start of the count, AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou also remembered John McCarthy in his welcoming speech.
McCarthy, who played for Port Adelaide and Collingwood, died earlier this month during a holiday in Las Vegas.