For every successful example you get of an AFL player moving clubs, it’s likely that another four or five who have tried the same trick fade into obscurity.
For every Josh Kennedy and Shane Mumford who left their original clubs to become key Premiership players at another, there are examples like Cale Morton and Richard Tambling who failed to reignite their careers when they walked.
Moving interstate is often a move that players pull in order to re-boot their fledgling careers, but some are more successful than others.
Consider Morton, who played 73 games in five seasons at Melbourne after being taken at pick four in the 2007 draft; the games had dried up under Mark Neeld but his move across the Nullarbor to the Eagles was even less fruitful. He made just three appearances in his only season in Perth, before he was delisted at the end of last year. Tambling, also taken at pick for but three years earlier, found himself in a similar predicament. A much-maligned player at Richmond in 108 games across six seasons, he moved to Adelaide in a bid to resurrect his career but played just 16 games in three years prior to his delisting and subsequent retirement at the end of 2013.
This season, pleasingly for Melbourne fans, Dom Tyson has so far proven to be an exception to the rule.
A former GWS Giant, drafted at pick three in the 2011 AFL Draft, Tyson was unable to make headway at his first club, contributing just 13 games in two seasons at the fledgling club.
It seemed Tyson needed a change of environment to re-activate his career, and the Demons offered him a lifeline. They acquired him in exchange for pick 2 (and a swap of lower picks in Melbourne’s favour), which the Giants subsequently used to draft the talented Josh Kelly.
Tyson has played in all 10 of the Demons matches this season, and despite being subbed out in Round five against Gold Coast, has amassed a healthy disposal average of 24.2 per game: ranking second at the club behind Nathan Jones. This far outweighs the 15.2 he averaged in his time in at the Giants.
Importantly, he has become a goal-kicking midfielder, booting eight goals in his last five matches, including multiples of two in each of his last three games. While he isn’t yet a prolific tackler, averaging just over two per game, Tyson makes up for this with a contested possession rate of 42.1% and five clearances per game.
Tyson has topped the 30 disposal mark three times and importantly, his disposals come at an impressive 73.1% efficiency, again ranking second behind Nathan Jones as the seasoned club-house leader.
However, he is still not without his flaws, as too often Tyson will attempt to take the tackler on – rather than using the first option he sees. As a result, Tyson often finds himself pinged for holding-the-ball when he really had no need to be compromised in the first place.
He has conceded 14 free kicks this year, the most at Melbourne, in comparison to receiving just six.
Also, in his otherwise excellent performance against Port Adelaide last weekend, Tyson conceded a game high of eight clangers, and actually ranks equal 12th for clangers this season in the AFL with 33 in 10 games.
Despite this, it is important to remember that Tyson only turned 21 yesterday and his best days are still ahead of him. As a player with less than 25 games to his name, what he has shown with the Demons this season has been outstanding.
Melbourne Football Club has advanced rapidly this season under the leadership of Paul Roos, but without the impact of improved performances from players like Dom Tyson, the process from emerging as a cellar-dweller into a top eight contender would take all that much longer.
Demons fans should be excited; they have acquired an elite young midfielder in Dom Tyson when his stocks were at their lowest. With Melbourne on the march this season, expect him to play a pivotal role for the rest of the year and many of the next still to come.