Anthony Morabito’s rollercoaster ride at Fremantle has finally come to an end, but there could be more twists and turns to come if he decides to extend his AFL career elsewhere.
The Dockers officially delisted Morabito on Tuesday, telling the injury-plagued midfielder he wouldn’t be offered a new deal for next season.
It comes just days after Morabito tore his quad while playing in the WAFL finals.
The 24-year-old will now fly to Melbourne for surgery this week.
Morabito, the No.4 pick from the 2009 national draft, burst onto the AFL scene in 2010 with a standout rookie campaign.
But three subsequent knee reconstructions – in 2011, 2012, and 2013 – ruined his hopes of becoming a star.
Since suffering his first anterior cruciate ligament tear in December 2010, Morabito has notched just three games for Fremantle – all in 2014.
A string of soft tissue injuries halted his progress over recent years.
And although he was able to play 14 games for Peel Thunder in the WAFL this season, he was unable to break into Fremantle’s senior side.
Morabito is now an unrestricted free agent, meaning he is free to join any rival club.
It remains unclear whether Morabito wants to extend his AFL career.
And even if he does, he faces an uphill battle to find a club willing to take a punt on such an injury-ravaged player.
Morabito says he will forever appreciate the support he received from Fremantle over the years.
“Despite unfortunate setbacks, I am proud to have remained driven and passionate throughout this chapter of my career, and am excited for what the future may bring,” Morabito said in a statement.
Dockers coach Ross Lyon praised Morabito’s resilience.
“Ask any athlete about the challenges they faced in recovering from just one knee reconstruction and you get an understanding of what they have to go through,” Lyon said.
“In Anthony’s case he has been through that three times and on each occasion he refused to capitulate.
“It is a testament to Anthony that, as he has said of himself, what he’s been through with injuries and setbacks has made him a better person.”
Key position player Tanner Smith and Irish rookie Sean Hurley are others who have been delisted by the Dockers over the past week.
And there will be plenty more exits to come once Peel Thunder’s finals campaign is over.
Matt de Boer, Clancee Pearce, Tendai Mzungu and Jack Hannath all face the axe, while Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Barlow, Ed Langdon, Nick Suban and Garrick Ibbotson could be used as trade bait.
Zac Clarke and Chris Mayne are among the players who could weigh up their free agency options.