Zach Tuohy celebrates a goal during the round six match between Geelong and Sydney at GMHBA Stadium, April 22, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

GEELONG star Zach Tuohy is having pangs of guilt about breaking Jim Stynes' record for the most AFL games by an Irish-born player.

The premiership defender will play his 265th game on Sunday at home against North Melbourne, breaking the mark that has stood since 1998.

Stynes is one of the great Irish and Australian sporting stories, debuting for Melbourne in 1987 and winning the 1991 Brownlow Medal.

The revered ruckman's streak of 244 consecutive games remains an AFL record.

Stynes became Melbourne president and was crucial in the club emerging from years of financial struggle.

Melbourne President Jim Stynes in the crowd during the round 4 match between Richmond and Melbourne at the MCG. Picture: AFL Photos

He also co-founded the Reach Foundation, a youth charity, and was given a Victorian state funeral after dying of cancer in 2012, aged just 45.

"It's a strange one. I'm obviously proud I've been able to play as long as I have," Tuohy said on Monday.

"(But) he's everyone's hero. You almost feel guilty playing more games than him.

"It's probably mostly because I don't feel I belong in Jim's category as a player and obviously in terms of legacy, so it's a strange one.

Jim Stynes holds up the medal after winning the 1991 AFL Brownlow Medal. Picture: AFL Photos

"I don't really know how to feel."

Tuohy debuted for Carlton in 2011 and started playing for Geelong six years later.

He was a key member of the Cats' premiership team last year and is renowned for his booming kicks out of defence.

Zach Tuohy salutes the Geelong fans after defeating Sydney in the 2022 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Tuohy said as more Irish players try AFL careers, Stynes' legend grows in his native country.

"I knew of Jim Stynes, obviously. I don't think I appreciated the significant impact he had on the game or his legacy post-career," he said.

"I only got to appreciate that when I came out (to Australia).

"The good thing is, with more and more Irish guys and girls coming out, his legacy is getting much more publicity back home.

"I must admit, I was blown away to see how significant a character he was."