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Barlow's Docker days over, searching for new club

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24: Michael Barlow of the Dockers runs with the ball during the 2016 AFL Round 14 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Fremantle Dockers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 24, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media)
Michael Barlow's time at Fremantle is up

MICHAEL Barlow is determined to continue his career at a new club after confirming his time at Fremantle was over.

Barlow, 28, took to social media to thank the Dockers, who recruited him as a mature-age rookie, and said he knew he would not play for the club again after a late-season shoulder injury.

"About 30 minutes after round 17, 2016, I knew I had made my last play for the Fremantle Dockers," Barlow wrote.

"I want to thank everyone involved with the football club for the past seven years, in particular my two coaches Mark Harvey and Ross Lyon.

"I am looking forward to the next challenge and have never been more motivated to continue my AFL career in 2017 and beyond.

"I'm off to find a new jumper, hopefully it fits. Forever grateful Freo."

Who's hanging up the boots? Keep track of 2016's retirements and delistings

Barlow was recruited in the 2010 NAB AFL Rookie Draft and made his debut as a 22-year-old, quickly establishing himself as a ball-magnet. 

He averaged 27.8 possessions in his debut season and was the most talked about draftee in the game before suffering a shocking broken leg against Port Adelaide at Domain Stadium.

The clearance specialist re-established himself in 2012 and played a key role in the Dockers push to the 2013 Grand Final.

In the past two seasons he has struggled to adapt to a half-forward role and more recently defensive midfield roles, spending time in the WAFL in 2016 before his season was cut short, finishing on 126 games with the Dockers.   

The Victorian was linked to Gold Coast through the NAB AFL Trade Period and more recently Adelaide, with Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes declaring the Crows must take him as a delisted free agent to bolster their midfield depth. 

Fremantle general manager of football operations Chris Bond thanked Barlow for his inspiring efforts at the Dockers.

"It’s always a pretty special achievement for a player to come to a club via the rookie list and play 100-plus games," Bond said.

"Michael achieved that and more. He inspired his team mates with his resilience and determination to get back to playing as soon as possible after recovering from a setback or injury.

"Michael’s upbeat nature and the way he went about his footy ensured his strong standing in the playing group, and also guaranteed his popularity with our members and supporters.

"We thank Michael for his commitment and contribution to the club and wish him all the best for the future."

Barlow thanked those closest to him for the support they have given him through the hard times in a seven-season career he hopes to continue. 

"I especially want to thank my family and closest friends, they know who they are," he said.

"They have ridden the highest of highs but most crucially the agonising lows that come in this industry."