In many circumstances a player will be well aware he is facing the exit. For North Melbourne midfielder Sam Gibson the news of his axing was somewhat of a surprise.
This time of the year is never easy when players are moved on from clubs. It may be via delisting or a player may be told they will be put up for trade or told to explore their options. Often a polite way for an AFL club to tell someone their services are no longer required.
For some players the news of being delisted will not come as a surprise. Especially if a player has not performed. Injury issues and often age and the direction of the club will all be factors in list management decisions.
Sam Gibson and the rebuilding Roos
When North Melbourne was bundled out of the finals in the 2016 Elimination, it seemed inevitable a rebuild would transpire. The end of the season saw the high profile departures of Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo.
The 2017 season has been a difficult one for the Kangaroos finishing the season in 15th position with six wins.
Sam Gibson at 31 years of age along with Scott Thompson and Jarrad Waite are the oldest players on the Kangaroos list.
Scott Thompson and 34 year-old Waite have signed one year deals to remain until the end of 2018 while Gibson was not so lucky.
Is the AFL dream over?
In 2017 Sam Gibson played all 22 games at AFL level. He averaged 22.1 disposals per match and finished sixth in the best & fairest. The midfielder has played 130 consecutive games since making his debut in 2012.
The midfielder has averaged over 20 disposals every season since his debut.
Sam Gibson was obviously still coming to terms with his axing when interviewed this week on Trade Radio. Knowing the longer he was not offered a contract, the more likely it was he might have a problem.
“The longer it dragged out, the more you probably see the writing on the wall. So when I actually had that conversation with Brad a couple of days ago it wasn’t a complete shock.
“I’m a pretty rational person and it still can be hard to fathom that you can be in the best 22 for 130 weeks, finish sixth in the best and fairest and not get a contract.”
The delisted Roo is keen to extend his career elsewhere and more than happy to go interstate. Age will obviously count against him. But Sam Gibson’s output is that of someone who still has something to offer at AFL level.