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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4111


Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (12:02): I too rise to acknowledge the untimely death of Jim Stynes. I do not make a practice of speaking on these motions unless I have some personal connection in this place, but I am originally from Victoria and, growing up as a young Victorian, one of my earliest memories of football was the 1987 preliminary final, where Hawthorn played Melbourne to take on the mighty Blues a week later in the grand final. Of course, Carlton belted the living suitcase out of Hawthorn in the grand final. But the preliminary final between Hawthorn and Melbourne was a very close game and Jim Stynes, in, I think, his first year of senior footy, famously ran across the mark of Gary Buckenara, who, with a 15-metre penalty, as it was in those days, proceeded to kick the goal taking Hawthorn into a grand final they were sure to lose—but, in any event, they made the grand final. It was one of my earliest football memories.

Jim Stynes played a significant part in the last 20 years of Australian football. It is a passion and religion in the southern states and is also growing, I must say, in the northern states and in the west, and Jim Stynes has been a significant part of that. To lose Jim at such a young age with such a contribution still to make to society is extremely sad. The member for Higgins, appropriately, went through his record in the game and so forth, and I will not repeat that, but I saw a comment by Patrick Smith in the Australian a day or so ago that I thought was extremely appropriate. He said that Jim Stynes arrived in Melbourne not knowing how to play football, but, after he left, Melbourne would not be playing football without him. That is completely true. Without Jim Stynes' commitment and passion for that football club, it is likely they would not be running around again this year.

He was truly a champion—a term that gets thrown around too often—on the sporting field and a champion off the sporting field. I feel terribly sorry for his young children and for his wife, Samantha. I will finish by quoting what Samantha Stynes said in her Facebook message when she announced his death:

Jim's lesson is that life was to be challenged and treasured.