THOUSANDS OF MOURNERS will fill Melbourne’s city centre later for Jim Stynes’ final farewell.
The funeral of the Irish-born AFL legend is scheduled to begin at 11am Australian time (Tuesday, 1am Irish).
The former Ballyboden St Enda’s clubman died last Tuesday, aged 45, after a long, public battle with cancer. Since his passing, Victoria announced the Dubliner would receive a state funeral.
Stynes became the first foreign player to win the Brownlow medal — the highest individual award in the game – after he arrived from Dublin as 17-year-old.
After a record-breaking career with the Melbourne Demons he went on to bring the club back from the brink as president as well as helping thousands of Australian teenagers with his Reach organisation.
The funeral, at St Paul’s Cathedral, will be televised live on ABC News 24 while those around the city wishing to play their respects can watch on various big screens.
The Stynes family has requested that instead of flowers, donations be made to the Jim Stynes Future Fund for the Reach Foundation or a local cancer charity.
Meanwhile, AFL chiefs have indicated they’d like an international rules series, spilt between Dublin and Melbourne to honour Stynes.
“It is definitely a vision we would love to see and I think that everyone would understand the significance of it,” says Melbourne Demons chief Cameron Schwab. “Ireland forms a unique chapter in our club’s heritage, but also in the history of the game.
“We think a day where Melbourne could play Dublin at Croke Park would be a dream, and there just might be a return game at the MCG, too.”