POLARISING midfielder Jarryd Lyons will be armed with plenty of motivation at his third club next year.
Brisbane is the latest to take Lyons on after stints at Adelaide and most recently Gold Coast, which willingly – and mutually – delisted him with a year still to run on his contract.
The news came after the 26-year-old was twice dropped during the 2018 season and finished outside the top 10 in the best and fairest.
Lyons now has the safety of a three-year deal with the Lions (and joins his brother Corey) rather than having to fight for his football life with potentially limited senior opportunities in 2019.
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He was in exclusive company this year with Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell, Patrick Cripps and new teammate Lachie Neale as the only players to average at least 24 disposals, 13 contested possessions and seven clearances.
Those numbers were at the heart of the vitriol spat at the Suns on social media, and part of why some industry figures AFL.com.au spoke to were so taken aback.
One called Gold Coast's decision "mind blowing", while another said "I'd have him in a heartbeat".
Brisbane football boss David Noble, who was at the Crows at the same time as Lyons, has been a long-time believer in the midfielder and gleefully accepted the freebie.
"We think he's an undervalued midfielder," Noble told AFL.com.au.
"His role will be to complement others … he's a cog in a bigger machine."
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The knocks on Lyons as a footballer, dating back to his Adelaide days, include his running capacity, defensive transition and ability to win the Sherrin away from the contest.
Suns coach Stuart Dew's public commentary was consistent on Lyons throughout the year, with repeated references to his work rate and follow-up efforts after stoppages.
"JL's an interesting one," Dew said after dropping Lyons for a second time ahead of round 20.
"He's found a lot of the ball recently, but also we need him to cover the ground really well and we thought on the MCG we needed a little bit more run."
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Lyons' kick rating, based on players' ability to hit a target of varying difficulty, is minus-7.8 per cent, which ranked 76th out of the 85 full-time midfielders.
He played 76.6 per cent game time this year, putting him in a similar bracket to the likes of Ben Cunnington (77.4), Trent Cotchin (76.7), Zach Merrett (76.3) and Ollie Wines (75.4).
Seventy-nine of his 93 minutes per match were spent in the midfield or on the wing (ranked 39th out of that same 85) and his average on-field stint between breaks was 12 minutes 3 seconds (47th).
How those numbers translate at the Lions will be worth watching.
Aside from his ability to absorb contact in the contest and feed outside runners (think Neale, Dayne Zorko, Hugh McCluggage), Noble believes Lyons can be highly effective as a resting forward.
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The Suns see their list in a different phase, though.
Emerging onballer Will Brodie and discarded veteran Michael Barlow have similar deficiencies to Lyons, but Gold Coast clearly prioritised Brodie.
Brayden Fiorini, Brodie, Jack Bowes and, to a lesser degree, Ben Ainsworth, who excels up forward, look set for increased opportunities next year.
Experienced midfield newcomers Anthony Miles and George Horlin-Smith should arrive at a fraction of Lyons' cost and the Suns sold them as mature, selfless and strong characters.
Dew, Jon Haines and Craig Cameron spearhead Gold Coast's relatively new football department and have already made a major splash in this exchange period.
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Part of that includes salary slashing, with Lyons' departure further easing a cap situation that Haines told AFL.com.au in October was in "a reasonably distressed state".
The exits of co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May, Kade Kolodjashnij, Jack Scrimshaw and Aaron Hall had already cleared significant space.
"We've created a multi-year plan to get the TPP (total player payments) back into a far more flexible and responsible position that's going to require some difficult decisions at different times throughout that period," Haines said.