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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The late Jim Stynes will join other great Australian sports people on the MCG's Australia Post Avenue of Legends. Recently, Richmond petitioned to have a bronze statue of Tiger great Kevin Bartlett, second to Michael Tuck on the AFL's games record list, commissioned for the avenue. However the selection committee said they could not overlook Stynes, not only for his incredible football career but also for his selflessness in the enormous contributions he made to his beloved Melbourne Demons and the wider community through his youth program Reach. For his work with underprivileged youth, he was named Victorian of the Year on two occasions and more recently Melburnian of the Year.

In making the announcement, MCC president Paul Sheahan said, “A true gentleman of the game, Stynes is an exceptional individual whose achievements as a non-Australian born player remain unmatched .... he is one of the most extraordinary and inspiring figures in the history of Australian sport.” Australia Post managing director and CEO Ahmed Fahour said Stynes “was not only a great AFL champion, he was also an inspiration to many underprivileged and troubled youths during his career." Selection committee chairman David Crow described Stynes as "an exceptional character ... just magnetic."

Stynes was born in Dublin in 1966, moved to Australia when he was 18 and went on to play 264 games for the Demons, of which 244 were consecutive, a record unlikely to be broken in today's AFL atmosphere. He won the Brownlow Medal in 1991 and is a member of Melbourne's Hall of Fame and the AFL Hall of Fame. During his long battle with cancer, which he lost in 2012, he served as Melbourne president and was key to eliminating the club's debt.

The Stynes statue will be the 15th to grace the avenue. His will be in good company alongside statues of cricket greats Shane Warne and Neil Harvey and fellow football legends Norm Smith and John Coleman. The statue will be unveiled later this year.


Article last changed on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 5:03 AM EST

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