Hawthorn key defender Brian Lake must wait until the end of the season to find out if the two-time defending AFL premiers keep him.
The 33-year-old veteran is keen to play on next year and had hoped to secure a new deal during the season.
But coach Alastair Clarkson made it clear on Friday that will not happen.
Lake will return from a week off with soreness to play on Geelong star forward Tom Hawkins in Saturday night’s MCG blockbuster.
“We’re probably just going to leave it until the end of the year and we’ve done that with a lot of our older players,” Clarkson said.
“It’s not particularly great for them, but they understand the process we go through in terms of some our vintage players.
“He’s been tremendous for us and we’ll make a call at the end of the year in terms of what we do with Lakey.
“The next six to eight weeks, he still has a great opportunity to play some good footy for us and then we’ll see where it goes.”
Lake has been a big success for the Hawks since he joined them from the Western Bulldogs in a trade for 2013.
He won the Norm Smith Medal in the 2013 grand final and was also a pivotal member of last year’s premiership team.
Lake has played 14 games this season for a total of 243 – 197 with the Bulldogs and 46 with the Hawks.