Xavier Richards’ departure from Sydney isn’t turning out the way the forward had planned.
Rather than continuing his AFL career in Victoria, Richards has agreed to play with Sydney University in the NEAFL this year having not been recruited in the off-season.
The 23-year-old, who played in the grand final loss to the Western Bulldogs, was delisted after turning down a two-year deal to stay with the Swans as he sought a move to his home state of Victoria.
His failure to attract an AFL suitor has seen his career stall on 12 games, which includes all four of Sydney’s finals games last year.
Sydney University coach Tom Morrison said Richards turned down opportunities in Melbourne to sign with the club.
“He obviously had a lot of other clubs from all over the country, in particular from Melbourne, chasing after his signature,” Morrison said in a statement.
“It’s a bit of a feather in the cap for our program.”
Playing in the NEAFL, Richards will test his credentials against AFL-listed players with the Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Swans reserves.
But his decision to play in the NEAFL rather than the stronger VFL, WAFL or SANFL competitions could make his path back to the AFL more difficult due to the relative lack of quality.