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'Balance' behind ex-Docker's axing, says Dew

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He certainly thought he could play on, but we were wary of the balance of the team
Stuart Dew on Michael Barlow

STUART Dew says delisting Michael Barlow was a decision based purely on team balance.

Announcing that Barlow would not be offered a contract in 2019 was the biggest eye-opener of Gold Coast's delistings following its finish to the season.

With 141 games next to his name, the 30-year-old had more experience than most on a young Suns list crying out for some older heads.

Matt Rosa had retired and Tom Lynch had expressed his desire to leave, but just Barlow, plus youngsters Max Spencer, Mackenzie Willis and Josh Jaska, were delisted.

But Gold Coast coach Dew says cutting the former Fremantle midfielder came down to having too many similar players.

"We had different opinions," Dew told AFL.com.au.

"He certainly thought he could play on, but we were wary of the balance of the team.

"We saw him as an inside mid and we had Jarryd Lyons and Touk (Miller) – who took his game to a new level – as an insider, and Dave (Swallow), and then Will Brodie.

"I was clear all year with him around where he sat and where we saw him."

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Barlow played just three games, in round six against Adelaide, and then the final two matches against Brisbane and Geelong.

He was injured for a good portion of the season, including suffering from Bell's palsy syndrome following a broken jaw, and played just seven NEAFL games.

Speaking on Fox Footy on Wednesday night, Barlow said communication broke down between himself and Dew.

"I felt they weren't as strong as they've come out and said they were.

"I felt like I was treated differently to other players in terms of opportunity given in terms of form and performance.

"On merit, I felt like there was a spot there for me. I felt like there was a line through my name."

Dew said in Barlow's final two games, which included the 35-disposal final round against the Cats, he was tried on a wing, but that wasn't going to work long-term.

"For wingmen, I think you're looking for that line-breaker," he said.

Barlow is hopeful of extending his career at a third club.