The Sydney Swans have delisted Robbie Fox at the end of his most productive season in the AFL.
The 27-year-old defender was let go on Tuesday alongside Zac Foot and Jackson Thurlow, while Sam Gray was also delisted but is expected to be redrafted as a rookie.
Fox, however, must hope his efforts in 14 games this season impressed a rival club willing to throw him a lifeline.
“Robbie, Zac and Jackson have all been outstanding people to have around the club and have made a contribution both on and off the field, so these were tough calls to make,” Sydney football boss Charlie Gardiner said.
“The uncertainty surrounding the make-up of lists has made this period particularly challenging and all three have handled the situation with great character and maturity.
“On behalf of everyone at the Swans, we want to thank them for their hard work and dedication, and wish them all the very best for the future.”
Sydney had already delisted Michael Knoll, Jack Maibaum, Harry Reynolds, Brady Rowles and Rhyley Stoddart in October.
Matt Ling, Lewis Melican and Joel Amartey have been re-signed, while Aliir Aliir left for Port Adelaide and ruckman Tom Hickey joined the Swans from West Coast.
After confusion through the trade period, clubs learned last week they can take 44 players into the 2021 season – three fewer than this year.
The list cuts have forced out numerous players across the league but Sydney’s decision to delist Fox came as a surprise to fans.
He was recalled to the team in round three, dropped two weeks later then played every game after he returned in round six.
The 186-centimetre defender averaged 3.4 intercept possessions, 2.6 tackles, 4.2 spoils and 7.9 pressure acts per game, while losing 30 per cent of his one-on-one contests.
Swans co-captain Dane Rampe, who was ruled out for the season after round 12, averaged 5.7 intercept possessions, 1.4 tackles, 5.5 spoils and 5.0 pressure acts per game while losing 25 per cent of his one-on-one contests in defence.
Fox has now entered a pool of delisted free agents who can sign with any club from Thursday.
Other defenders available include Thurlow, Shane Savage, Majak Daw, Marty Gleeson, Oscar McDonald and Matt Scharenberg.
Jackson Trengove, Heath Shaw and Lewis Jetta are among the veterans waiting to be picked up off the scrapheap.