Schulz shown AFL exit by Port Adelaide

Veteran forward Jay Schulz has been shown the door by Port Adelaide, with the club opting not to renew his contract for 2017.

The 31-year-old has played more than 100 games for the Power since joining from Richmond ahead of the 2010 season.

He will play his farewell game away to the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

Schulz has been the Power’s leading goalkicker four times since then but has struggled this season with injury and form, managing just six games.

He says he wants to keep playing in 2017 and will explore options to find a new home.

“While I’m disappointed with the club’s decision to let me go I understand and respect the reasons behind it and wish them all the best,” Schulz said on Thursday.

“I want to say a massive thanks to all the supporters who have accepted me and stood by me since I arrived at Alberton.

“They’ve always made me feel part of the club and I feel I’ll always be welcome back.”

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

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 may have been the last opportunity for fans to see him play at Adelaide Oval.

Hinkley says it was a difficult call to not renew Schulz’s contract.

“Jays value on the field has been clear for all to see ever since he walked into the Port Adelaide Football Club and just as valuable has been his strength and leadership off-field,” he said.

“Unfortunately the nature of football means we need to make hard decisions around this time of year and we need to always have our eyes on what our list needs for the future.

“Jay understands that and he’s handled himself superbly throughout our discussions.”

Schulz enjoyed his strongest season in 2014 when he booted 66 goals, topping the Power’s goalkicking for a third consecutive year.

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

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