When Tom Lynch played his first game for Richmond, Steven May was in the stands.
The two were captains at the Gold Coast last year and so spent a lot of time together. They still do. Weekly now, they still catch up for coffee in Richmond. They talk about the Suns, but it’s hard. May admits to a sense of guilt and responsibility when he watches them play.
“It’s hard watching them; they are my mates," he said. "They are a big part of my life, I spent my first nine years there and then you sit there and watch. It was hard playing, but it is harder watching even though I am not a part of it any more. It is still pretty close to me. It is still fresh. It has not been a year."
Last year as talk swirled about that both of them were possibly leaving, the co-captains did not discuss it.
Steven May (left) and Tom Lynch as co-captains at Gold Coast. Credit:AAP
“It was really hard … I think I had been loyal, I kept re-signing and I stayed there as long as I could, but I thought 'by the time the Suns come good, I might be finished', so it was a time thing as well. I wanted to have five, six years at a club not just one or two,” May said.
“We both had our own reasons. I was still playing at the time so I was focused week to week but Lynchy was injured and not out there, so it was different for him.
“I could get the sense he was leaving and we both had different reasons, but we both just thought it was our time. We didn’t both come in and go ‘yeah let’s both get out of here’. It would have been easier for me to leave if he stayed, and the same for him.”
In three weeks, the two former co-captains will play against each other – and on one another.
“I do know his game but he knows my game as well. I played on him four months a year, every session for years. We would battle and have some really good duels,” May said. “It would get overheated; we’d get in fights – we are both very competitive.
"I do try to ruffle the forwards up a bit but he is not one I would, because when you get him ruffled up he plays better. Like Buddy (Franklin). I wouldn’t talk to Buddy, I wouldn’t say a thing to him or touch him because, if I start running my mouth, he is going to want to kick more goals.
“Lynchy is the same, if he gets pumped up he will be much better. I will probably be nice and calm and try and talk him out of the game. I love Tom. We have a good relationship. I follow his career really closely.”