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Rebuild forces big Roo out after 11 years

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Lachlan Hansen has played his last game for the Kangaroos - ${keywords}
Lachlan Hansen has played his last game for the Kangaroos
He'll be sorely missed around the club and was one of those unique characters
Brad Scott on Lachy Hansen

NORTH Melbourne's list rebuild has claimed another senior player with Lachlan Hansen told he won't be offered a contract for 2018.

Hansen, who turned 29 two weeks ago, has fallen from favour over the past two seasons after establishing himself as one of the AFL's best intercept marks from 2013-15. 

And with the Kangaroos keen to continue the development of young key defenders Daniel Nielson, Sam Durdin and Ben McKay, the club announced on Tuesday Hansen's career at Arden St was over.

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Hansen's exit follows the departures of Brent Harvey, Nick Dal Santo, Drew Petrie, Michael Firrito and Daniel Wells at the end of last season.

Fellow veterans Jarrad Waite, Scott Thompson (restricted free agent) and Sam Gibson are also set to come out of contract at the end of October, with their futures yet to be determined. 

The No.3 pick in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft, Hansen played the best football of his career after settling in defence early in 2013. 

At 197cm, Hansen was given a licence to fly for his marks and used it to full effect, frequently zoning off his man to short-circuit opposition attacks.

In 2013, Hansen averaged 7.8 marks a game (fifth in the AFL among players who played more than one game) and was equal 15th in the competition for total contested marks (33), as he recorded his sole top-10 finish (eighth) in North's best and fairest award.

He was equal fourth in the AFL for average marks in 2014 (7.3 a game), while he was third at North for contested marks (21) that year and fifth in 2015 (21).

Hansen played most of his junior football defence, but was thrown from one end of the ground in the first half of his career.

The former Gippsland Power player was highly effective in attack, particularly in the second half of 2010 when Drew Petrie was injured and as part of a three-pronged attack with Petrie and Robbie Tarrant in 2012 that helped carry North into the finals for the first time in four years.

North coach Brad Scott lauded Hansen's contribution to the club over 11 seasons and 151 games.

"Lachy quickly forged a reputation as an excellent intercept mark in the AFL and formed a solid backline alongside the likes of Robbie Tarrant, Michael Firrito and Scott Thompson," Scott said on Tuesday. 

"Lachy has been a delight to coach and has been one of the most dynamic, versatile players in the league. His ability to play forward or back for us was a tremendous asset to the team.

"He'll be sorely missed around the club and was one of those unique characters. His ability to keep morale up, during this year in particular, was first class."

Ahead of his 150th game in round 13 this year, Hansen said the six finals he played were the highlights of his career, particularly the 2015 elimination final win over Richmond.

"At the start of that game, they (the Tiger fans) were so loud doing their theme song," Hansen said.

"Then they kicked the first couple and I thought, ‘Oh, no', but then we got composed and after half-time it was so fun.

"The feeling after that game was unbelievable because I didn't get to play in the year before against Essendon and Geelong."

A run of niggling injuries and concussions, and indifferent form, limited Hansen to just five senior games last season.

He returned to play this season's first 12 matches, but was dropped after an error-strewn performance in his 150th game, against St Kilda in round 13, and did not return until last Saturday's win over the Brisbane Lions.