Axed Eagle Mark Hutchings defiant in plan to play on in 2022 as Cats eye out-of-contract Jarrod Brander
Axed Eagle Mark Hutchings believes he still has plenty to offer an AFL team, and is now “putting himself out there” in the hope of a third career lifeline.
Hutchings, who spent time on St Kilda’s list before arriving at West Coast at the end of 2012, says his age counted against him in a season where the club under-performed.
But he’s determined to play on in 2022, even if it’s at WAFL level.
“I’ll be playing footy somewhere next year, I’m certain of that,” he told ABC’S Sports Talk.
“If it’s not at AFL level, I’ll go back to the WAFL because I just love playing footy. It’s my passion.
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“I’ve still got a little bit left in me so I’ll keep going.
“In my mind, I feel like I can still keep playing at a good level.
“I’m just putting myself out there, staying fit and if the opportunity arises, I’ll grab it with both hands.”
Hutchings’ 120-game career at West Coast officially came to an end this week, with the club announcing he would not receive a new deal.
The 30-year-old played in just three games this year, after three games in 2020.
“Given the year the Eagles had, there needs to be change,” Hutchings lamented.
“When you’re on one-year deals, and you’re out of contract, you leave yourself open for those types of decisions.
“As soon as you hit 30 and you’re out of contract, you’re not in a good spot.”
Following Hutchings, Brendon Ah Chee and ruckman Nathan Vardy’s exits the week, SEN reporter Sam Edmund said the Eagles had “lowballing” issues as the club attempts to refresh their roster.
“Nathan Vardy’s offer was so low, he preferred to take a job offer over in Warrnambool in Victoria,” he said.
Edmund believed the out-of-contract Jarrod Brander could also be out the door, with Geelong circling the former first round draft pick.
“Geelong have an ongoing interest in Jarrod Brander,” Edmund reported.
“He was a boarder at Geelong Grammar before being drafted high.
“I’m told there’s an ongoing interest there, the Cats think they can turn him into something special.”
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