Brave Stynes shows his battling qualities

JIM STYNES’ appearance at last Friday’s International Rules Test in Melbourne came just days after his wife feared his battle against cancer had taken a dramatic setback.

Speaking on Melbourne radio yesterday to promote a muesli blended by the Stynes family during his illness, the Dublin-born AFL legend and his wife Samantha spoke about his two-and-a-half year fight with the disease.

A frail Stynes tossed the coin between Ireland and Australia captains Stephen Cluxton and Brad Green before the throw-up.

However, the 45-year-old did so in the wake of taking a turn for the worst.

“You were scaring everyone else around you,” Sam said to Stynes during the interview.

“I think Jim’s still surprising our oncologist and carers and nurses. Several times we think, ‘Will Jim get through this?’”

Stynes has had several tumours removed since July 2009, when he revealed the cancer he was suffering from had spread to his brain.

The former Melbourne player and Brownlow medallist is currently using a trial drug, which he hopes is his “saving grace”.

“I wouldn’t say I’m flying. I’ve been belted a bit in probably the last three to four months, but I’m just coming back up again.

“I can feel the last two weeks I’ve had a bit of a break and I’m starting to come back out again.”

In an emotional exchange, Stynes admitted he will continue to fight because he loves life but has come to the heart-wrenching realisation what he’s going to miss out on.

“I’ve got two beautiful kids and a beautiful wife ... and it took me a long time to realise what that really meant,” Stynes said.

“Sometimes I sit with Sam and I’ll start crying because I know what I’m going to miss out on and that gets hard. I love life and I don’t want to miss out on it.

“In particular, I’ve got two amazing kids and I just don’t want to miss that.” He added: “You see young people getting ill and dying and their kids are still young and they’ve got a whole lifetime ahead of them, and often they don’t know their parents, won’t know [them].

“But it’s a blessing, that’s what I want to make sure people understand too.”

On the International Rules, Stynes joked that he isn’t in a position to become coach of the Australian team “the way I’m feeling at the moment”.

Tadhg Kennelly, who was mentored by Stynes when he arrived in Australia, was surprised the Dubliner attended last Friday’s game.

“I was shocked to see him there. I had heard awful bad reports the last two or three weeks.”

He added: “Who knows with Jimmy, he just keeps fighting and fighting.”

Patfull called into Aussie squad

PEARCE HANLEY’S Brisbane Lions team-mate Joel Patfull has been called into the Australian panel for the injured Jake King.

The Australian team enjoyed motor-racing and power-boating yesterday as they let off some steam ahead of attempting to haul back Ireland’s 44-point advantage tomorrow.

Meanwhile, AFL media relations manager Patrick Keane is more hopeful than the Metricon Stadium officials of a good crowd for the second Test.

While they are expecting 14,000, Keane said: “The ground only holds about 22,000 or 23,000 so we figure we’re on target for something in the region of 16,000 or 17,000.”

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