HAYDEN Ballantyne has cited the stunning form of Adelaide star Eddie Betts as reason to consider his own fresh start at a new club.
Ballantyne's future at Fremantle became a hot issue over the weekend after reports emerged he had asked to be traded to cross-town rival West Coast.
He is contracted with the Dockers for 2017 and told Channel Nine on Tuesday night he had not requested a trade.
However, Ballantyne said he was weighing up whether to pursue a fresh start, just as former Carlton forward Betts did when he moved to the Crows as a restricted free agent at the end of 2013.
Betts has since booted 174 goals in 65 games in Adelaide, earning All Australian honours in 2015.
"I think I've got a lot of football in front of me. I've played some pretty good football along the way and I think I can get better again," Ballantyne said.
"I look at blokes like Eddie Betts who had a fresh start at a new club and he won his first All Australian last year and he's probably going to win it this year. So a fresh start is something that could be on the table."
Ballantyne said his manager Colin Young was assessing the market, given the Dockers are set to embark on a rebuild.
"I haven't asked for a trade and I haven't asked to be traded to any club," Ballantyne said.
"When there's talk of a rebuild and stuff like that, he (Young) gets a bit antsy and starts feeling around for what's out there and gives us all the options and then we make a decision from there."
AFL.com.au understands Ballantyne formally approached club officials two weeks ago to discuss his contract situation beyond 2017.
On the weekend, it was put to AFL.com.au by a source close to Ballantyne that the small forward had made his intention to be traded known to the club less formally more than a month ago.
However, sources close to Fremantle strongly denied that Ballantyne had, at any point, made coach Ross Lyon aware of his intention to seek a trade.
Lyon reiterated that stance after the Dockers' clash with Adelaide on Sunday.
"People inferred that I lied about that, which I'm not thrilled about," he said.
"But clearly in the background Hayden's manager has then, late this week, and even as late as Friday, gone and put some things forward to the club that we've now all become aware of. That's the exact situation."
Ballantyne said on Tuesday night it would be far from easy to leave the club at which he became a star after making his AFL debut in 2009 as a mature-aged recruit.
"I've invested so much in Fremantle," he said.
"I've played all my AFL football there. I've played with injuries, played with broken bones and I've invested so much. So to leave Fremantle, I'd be quite upset.
"But if I can see myself playing good football somewhere else then, you know, it's a possibility. But at the moment I'm still contracted."
Ballantyne was named All Australian in 2014 when he topped the Dockers' goalkicking with 49 goals. But he has kicked just 41 goals in the past two seasons.
He suffered a serious pectoral injury late last season that kept him out for seven weeks and he suffered a facial fracture in round 17 this year.
He played in the Dockers' 72-point loss to the Crows on Sunday and said the home crowd had treated him well, despite the public speculation.
"The Purple Army were great," Ballantyne said.
"One little fella, when I was having some shots before the game, said, 'Ballas, please don't leave', and that tickled a nerve. But we'll see.
"I'm still just getting to work. Doing my job and playing footy.
"I'm a contracted player. I'm focused on GWS this week and I'm going to play the best that I can for the rest of the year and then when the season is over, decisions will be made after that."