GIVEN the difficulties Josh Tynan faced at the tail end of his career, it can be easy to forget just what a fine VFL journey it was.
Tynan, 28, called time on his state league career at the end of last season having managed 17 games in three years at Essendon including just three in 2021, after being forced to miss Port Melbourne's 2017 premiership plus the entire 2018 season with the after-effects of a series of concussions.
But those 17 games lifted him to an impressive 106 VFL appearances in 10 years at four clubs after being picked up by Melbourne in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft and playing two games at the top level in 2012.
The wingman-turned-small-defender from Garfield played 29 matches for Casey Scorpions in his two years on the Demons' list and added 35 in 2014-15 at Frankston during the peak of his career.
He joined his older brother and Casey Team of the Decade member Luke at Port Melbourne in 2016, playing another 25 matches, but his concussion issue was starting to rear its head and he managed just five in July 2017 and had to watch on as Luke and the Borough scored a thrilling Grand Final win over Richmond.
Concussed again in the opening round of 2018, Tynan took the season off on medical advice before finally being cleared to return in 2019, playing 14 games in a mentoring role at the Bombers.
COVID restrictions have played havoc with the past two years, and with a new son and his boss, decorated VAFA figure Anthony 'Plugger' Lynch, putting the pressure on to join St Kevin's, the decision became an easy one.
"We've (Tynan and wife Marney) just had a little one (Harrison) last March, so it was just juggling that VFL level and commitment of footy," he said.
"I'm a carpenter by trade and was doing a bit of work for ‘Plugger' while I was renovating a couple of properties of my own … he got me on board workwise and I became mates with a few blokes in that St Kevin's network.
"He'll be an amazing coach so I'm looking forward to playing for him."
Tynan said playing with Luke at two clubs was the highlight of his VFL career, alongside reaching triple figures, but rues missing out on that elusive premiership.
"I enjoyed playing alongside Luke, we played a bit at Casey together when I was at Melbourne and then we joined up again at Port Melbourne," he said.
"Getting to that 100-game milestone, I was pretty proud of that because I always looked up to players who were able to reach that milestone, especially at VFL level, which is tough in terms of commitment and still having a full-time job.
"I went to Essendon hoping for the best, but not really knowing after having that year off – I joined as a development coach because I still wanted to be involved if I couldn't play, and they were happy to give me that role until I got cleared by the docs.
"At the time (of being drafted) you feel like you're going to have a 200-game career … it didn't pan out quite that way but I'm happy with getting the opportunity to play at (AFL) level and I feel like I got the most out of my football ability."
Tynan said he would be eternally grateful for the support of his parents Paul and Cathy and didn't rule out returning home to Garfield to finish his career one day.
"My Mum and Dad rode the ups and downs with me, especially in the early days, and at each club you get good people and good coaches, at VFL level everyone is genuine about improving their football or your football," he said.
"I'd love to (go back to Garfield) – logistically it's about an hour out of the city, so that gets a bit tricky, but I've always said I'd love to get back there at some stage – whether that happens or not we'll see how it plays out."