The future of some of Geelong’s most decorated AFL veterans remains uncertain after their crushing preliminary final loss to Sydney.
Triple premiership stars Jimmy Bartel and Corey Enright are no certainty to play in 2017 after the Cats’ 37-point loss to the Swans at the MCG.
Bartel was among Geelong’s better performers in the preliminary final but his future has been hotly debated after some indifferent games towards the end of the season.
The 2007 Brownlow medallist is understood to have triggered a clause in his contract to play on next year but there’s speculation about how much time he would be forced to spend in the VFL.
“I don’t think I would sign up for next year to be a VFL footballer, to just use in the case of emergency,” Bartel told SEN radio in August.
“If I was playing VFL football, it would be there to go back and press for selection.”
Backline general Corey Enright was in tears as he left the ground on Friday night, prompting suggestions he might hang up his boots.
The 35-year-old is clearly playing well enough to continue his career – he earned his sixth All-Australian berth this season – but would be among the oldest players in the AFL if he keeps playing.
Star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield said he wasn’t sure whether Enright’s emotion after the game suggested he was considering retirement.
“You understand these opportunities don’t come around all that often,” he said.
“Footy’s an emotional game at different stages. I beg to argue with anyone that has a contrary view to that.
“It’s a tough game. It’s one (where) you live and die by the result and it’s bitter. It’s disappointing.”
Fellow defender Tom Lonergan, 32, is also out of contract and yet to signal whether he will play on next year.
After Friday night’s game, Geelong coach Brad Scott refused to say whether the veterans would continue.
“I’m not going to address any of that tonight – that would be inappropriate,” he said.