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Bombers delist veteran after 12 years

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Heath Hocking has been delisted by Essendon - AFL,Essendon Bombers,Heath Hocking
Heath Hocking has been delisted by Essendon

HEATH Hocking's career at Essendon is over, after the Bombers cut the veteran midfielder.

The 29-year-old played just two senior games for the club this year after returning from his 12-month anti-doping ban, including a two-goal performance in the Bombers' round 23 win over Fremantle.

Hocking started his career as a rookie-listed player and made his debut for the Bombers in 2006. On Friday, the club confirmed it would not offer him a new contract for 2018.

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He finishes his time at the club having played 126 games, and joins retiring trio Jobe Watson, James Kelly and Brent Stanton as end-of-season departures for the Bombers.

"I want to thank the football club for the last 12 years. It's been an amazing time for me," Hocking said.

"I feel as though I'm a better person for being involved with the footy club.

"Thank you to my teammates and coaches. I have some great memories and I've met so many great people, who I will have friendships with for life.

"I'm sad that it has come to an end, but I'm excited for the future and what that holds.

"Thanks to all the fans for their support over the journey. They make the club what it is.

"I want to thank my wife for all of her support, and to all of my family for coming to games and being there, and putting up with an AFL footballer.

"As footballers we can be quite selfish, so their support is enormous.

"Thank you to my Mum, Dad, brother and sister, and extended family.

"Saying that, I hope my journey isn’t over and I’m excited for where the future takes me."

Hocking's best season came in 2010, when he played every game, averaged 18 disposals, finished second in the club's best and fairest and made a reputation as being one of the leading run-with players in the competition. 

"Heath has been a wonderful player and highly respected Essendon person over a long period of time," Essendon football manager Rob Kerr said.

"Drafted as a rookie, Heath earned his spot on the senior list and went on to become a 100-game player for the club.

"He is a true competitor, tough, uncompromising and the ultimate professional, on and off the field."