It’s official: Lynch tells Suns he’s out
THE AFL's worst-kept secret of the season is official.
Tom Lynch has told coach Stewart Dew and chief executive Mark Evans he will return to a Victorian club.
He then addressed the playing group at the club's Metricon Stadium headquarters.
The high-profile free agent flew to the Gold Coast on Thursday to alert the club of his intentions.
Lynch has been told he will not be part of the club's football activities for the rest of the year.
The Suns have known for months he would leave, with the decision giving them time to consider what they do to replace him.
Lynch has been made aware by the club that they retain the right to match any rival offers or to look for a trade.
However, the anticipated compensation of pick 3 in the draft is also enticing.
The Suns say a trade would have to secure an established player and a high draft pick.
Evans issued a statement late on Thursday.
"We've been in constant dialogue with Tom and his management throughout the year, early last month we had indications that the decision was heading this way and we asked Tom to give us a decision when he returned to the club," Evans said.
"He returned to the Gold Coast after surgery today and informed us and the playing group of his intent. We accept that the free agency system provides this option for Tom and will move forward with the best interests of the club at heart.
"I can confirm that the board, senior members of our football department & the leadership group share a view that Tom should relinquish his captaincy of the club and therefor his position has been rescinded.
"The club will continue to assist Tom with his rehabilitation from injury, however he won't be part of the football program for the remainder of the season.
"Tom understands all the mechanics of being a restricted free agent, which ultimately can't come to a conclusion until October.
"Importantly for us we still have four matches to play this season and our focus is on continuing to build an environment and game plan that will set us up for future growth."
Despite the decision, the AFL industry will still have to wait for months until he decides which club he wants to play at.
The AFL's free agency window only opens in October, which gives him nine weeks to consider his future.
Collingwood were seen to have pushed to the head of the queue with their list manager Ned Guy met with Lynch on Monday at his home.
But it is understood that meeting saw Guy clarifying the club's public comments about having met him in public.
Richmond and Hawthorn have also met Lynch, who is recovering from a PCL reconstruction.
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