DELISTED Bomber Heath Hocking knows it’s a longshot, but still believes he can benefit another club with his experience, leadership and hardness.
However, the veteran midfielder, who won Essendon’s VFL best and fairest this season, concedes there has been little interest from rival clubs who might consider him too old.
Former rookie Hocking, who will be 30 in December, represented Essendon in 126 games, but managed just two this season, playing in the round three loss to Carlton and the final-round win over Fremantle at Etihad Stadium before being relegated to an emergency for the elimination final against Sydney.
He feels physically fresh, having been among the raft of Bombers who missed the 2016 season with doping suspensions.
“I’m a 29-year-old, turning 30, but I think I’ve still got a bit of footy to play. There’s always that slight chance maybe and (I’m) keeping the door open, but you never know (what might happen),” Hocking told SEN on Wednesday morning.
"I still feel I can play at AFL level but there’s not much interest out there.
"(This year) my body was in really good shape – I didn’t miss a game through injury and I was covering the ground well (and) my GPS data was really good.
“Having a year off, and not playing too much the year before (through injury in 2015) helped my body recover and get ready to go again. It’s probably the disappointing part, that I’m still fit and able to go.”
A fierce competitor renowned for his professionalism, Hocking said a prospective club would also gain a player who could assist the development of youngsters – an area in which he has discovered a genuine “passion”.
“Twelve years’ experience in the game is something you can’t just get, and this year there’s been some real positives with the way I helped the young Essendon guys come up, and I know they had high regard for me and what I tried to do,” he said.
"My game is (based around being) hard in the contest and I think a lot of teams need that.
“That’s how I’d sell it, but age probably holds me back a bit (in the eyes of clubs).”
The Dons delisted Hocking’s former teammates Ben Howlett and Craig Bird on Tuesday.
More By Ben Collins