It’s been a fitting season to bid a fond farewell to an excellent career for Andy Lynch.
The veteran prop, who turns 38 in two weeks, is not in Castleford Tigers’ 19-man squad to face Leeds Rhinos in the Super League Grand Final on Saturday.
Therefore, he has played his last game of professional Rugby League after announcing that he would retire from the game back in June, on the eve of his 500th career appearance.
The Leeds-born forward made his professional debut for Castleford Tigers back in 1999 and quickly became one of their key players.
He was named in the England ‘A’ squad for a Test against New Zealand and for the South Seas tour at the end of the 2002 campaign, and was also part of the Three Lions side that won the European Nations Cup the year after.
Lynch was a stand-out performer for the Tigers in the 2003 season and was rightly named in the Super League Dream Team that year and he picked up the Players’ Player of the Year award at the club’s annual presentation evening.
He was selected for England while at Castleford and went on to make five appearances on the international stage.
After making 137 appearances for Castleford, they were then relegated to the Championship and the Yorkshire representative signed for Bradford Bulls in 2004 and quickly made a name for himself as one of the best front-rowers in the competition.
He won a Super League title with Brian Noble’s Bulls in 2005 and started alongside Stuart Fielden in the front-row in Bradford’s 30-10 victory over NRL outfit Wests Tigers in the 2006 World Club Challenge.
Lynch then picked up even more individual honours that year, winning the Forward of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards and was called up to the Great Britain squad for the Tri-Nations as a result of his top class displays, but didn’t make an appearance in the tournament.
But he did make his debut for the Lions a year later in a Test match against France.
And in 2008, he unfortunately had to rule himself out of England’s World Cup squad due to an injury.
After playing 204 games in his six years at Odsal, the 37-year-old signed for Hull FC for a six-figure fee and was named FC captain for the 2012 campaign and made 59 appearances in his time at the Airlie Birds.
Lynch returned to his boyhood club Castleford ahead of the 2014 season and appeared in their Challenge Cup Final defeat to the Rhinos in his first season back.
He has provided a lot of experience for the Tigers in the last couple of years. Currently the oldest player in the top-flight, he has still played 19 Super League games for Castleford this year and has guided them to a League Leaders’ Shield trophy.
If you are a youngster wanting to make it as a professional Rugby League player, dig out some old clips and look back on Lynch’s career and you’ll certainly be on the right path.
Lynch has been one of the best servants Rugby League has ever had and he will be missed in the future.
What have been your favourite Andy Lynch moments over the years? Let us know in the comments below.