Schulz looks to AFL future as Port move on

Schulz looks to AFL future as Port move on

Veteran forward Jay Schulz says he has a burning desire to continue his AFL career after being shown the door by Port Adelaide.

The 31-year-old will play his final game for the Power when they face the Suns on Saturday on the Gold Coast after being told his contract will not be renewed.

Schulz has played more than 100 games for Port and led their goalkicking four times since joining from Richmond ahead of the 2010 season.

But the key forward has struggled with injury and form this season, managing just six games.

Schulz says he wants to keep playing in 2017 and will seek a new home with the aim of eventually taking a coaching role.

“While I don’t agree and I’ll be sad and all that, I understand and I respect what the club’s doing,” he said on Thursday.

“At the same time, I think that I’ve still got a good couple of years of footy left.

“I’ve still got that burning desire to continue to play football. My head’s still very much in the game and I think my body can still be as well.

“I haven’t had a great run the last 12 months but, medically, I actually feel really good and I feel like I could really add some value to someone, somewhere.”

Schulz played 20 games for the Power in 2015, kicking 44 goals and taking 110 marks but injured his back this year in Port’s season-opening win over St Kilda.

The key forward underwent surgery in April to fix a prolapsed disc and did not return to the side until round 15.

Port coach Ken Hinkley signalled ahead of last week’s Showdown that it might have been the last opportunity for fans to see him play at Adelaide Oval.

Hinkley agonised over the decision not to retain Schulz but said it was the right call for the club.

“We took into account lots of things and obviously one part is Jay’s age and stage of his football career,” Hinkley said.

“We understand that Jay’s body has probably taken a hammering more than most because of the way he’s played the game and his speed at (this) level now looks a little bit off the pace that we think he perhaps needs to be at.”

Schulz enjoyed his strongest season in 2014 when he booted 66 goals.

The decision to cast him adrift signals that Port intend following through on plans to make bold list-management decisions after failing to make the finals for a second year.

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