Melbourne have snared dual Geelong premiership player Shannon Byrnes as their first recruit under the new AFL free agency rules.
Byrnes played 108 games with the Cats – including the 2007 and 2009 premierships – after making his debut in 2004.
But he could only manage nine games over the past two seasons as he slipped down the pecking order behind the likes of Mathew Stokes, Steven Motlop and Allen Christensen.
The speedy 28-year-old was a member of Geelong’s VFL premiership team this year and will look to revive his career with the Demons.
Melbourne’s general manager of list management Tim Harrington was thrilled with the acquisition.
“It’s wonderful to add, not only a player, but a person of the calibre of Shannon to the Melbourne Football Club,” Harrington said.
“He comes from a club that’s had a lot of success, particularly finals success over a long period of time, and he’s exactly the type of player who can assist our own playing group.
“We see Shannon fulfilling a specific on-field role and pleasingly he was keen to come to the Melbourne Football Club. We believe he comes here for the right reasons.
“He’s not only a quality AFL player in his own right, but he’s a player who can help many players on our list realise their own potential.”
Melbourne defender Jared Rivers could be headed the opposite way to Byrnes, with Geelong a potential suitor.