Zach Tuohy: 'An All-Irish Half-Backline Would Be Pretty Special'

Zach Tuohy: 'An All-Irish Half-Backline Would Be Pretty Special'
By PJ Browne Updated

Zach Tuohy is confident he'll play on for what would be a 13th season in the AFL. The Laois man says he's had "plenty of chats" with Geelong list manager Andrew Mackie about continuing with the club next season, though he is yet to sign a new deal.

Should he play next season, it's likely that he will break Jim Stynes's record for 264 AFL appearances by an Irish player.

This Friday, Tuohy's Geelong side play Brisbane Lions in the preliminary finals with a place in the grand final - and a chance to become just the second ever Irishman, after Kerry's Tadhg Kennelly, to win a Premiership - on the line.

Zach Tuohy: 'The more Irish players the better'

"I'm quite comfortable with where it's at," said Tuohy.

"My body feels great, mentally I'm loving the game still. I'm pretty confident I'll play on.

"These things always take time, but things are positive; these things always take until the end of the year, especially with older players. I said to the club and my manager that I was happy to wait because I know how the game works.

"(I feel like) physically (I have) plenty (left in the tank) and mentally I'm enjoying the game as much as I ever have. I think I've got plenty left in the legs and the milestones would be nice to reflect on post career. The big one is the premiership to try and get. Jim Stynes's record would almost be embarrassing to break, to be honest, but would be nice to have.

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"I think at the stage I'm at in my career, it's hard not to reflect a little bit. I know I'm closer to the end than the start.

"I've spent my entire adult life in Australia, which given I never looked at the sport until I was 16 or 17, it does seem strange. I've enjoyed it and I have no intention of finishing this week."

15 June 2018; Zach Tuohy of the Geelong Cats AFL team during squad training in the GMHBA Stadium in Geelong, Australia. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Tuohy said winning a Premiership is the "only goal" he's had since being traded to Geelong from Carlton six years ago.

"I haven't had a whole lot to do with Tadhg, but he was the Irish guy we looked up to that was kind of playing really regular for a long time. And obviously the only one to win a flag," said Tuohy.

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"The ambition is not really to equal his record of winning the flag, it's just to win one. If I can do it with Mark O'Connor, that would make it extra special."

Last month, it emerged that Conor McKenna had told Tyrone teammates that he plans to return to Australia, and resurrect his AFL career. Tuohy said playing with the 2021 All-Ireland winner would interest him.

"He's a top player," he said.

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"Any good player you can get to the club you want; the more Irish players the better, as far as I'm concerned. An all-Irish half-backline would be pretty special.

"I haven't spoken to him, no. I'm probably a generation or two ahead of him. Maybe a few of the other young Irish boys have."

Picture credit: Nils Versemann / Shutterstock.com and Sportsfile

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