FORMER Brisbane Lions captain Jed Adcock is determined to extend his career at another club, believing he has at least three years of football left in him.
The Lions informed the 29-year-old last month they would not renew his contract beyond this season after 12 years and more than 200 games with the club.
But a match-winning four-goal and 21-disposal effort in the Lions' surprise victory over the Western Bulldogs has left Adcock even more certain he can play on for several more years.
"I was pretty confident throughout the whole year that my future next year was going to be pretty good, so it came as a fair shock when I got told at the end of the year that I'd be moving on," Adcock told AFL.com.au.
"I felt like my form as a defender was really good, and I definitely felt that I'd done enough.
"I still feel like I've got three or four really good years of footy left in me. I'm only 29. I'm excited by the opportunity to move on and see what's next for me."
Adcock was the longest serving Lion on the club's list in 2015, was co-captain with Jonathan Brown in 2013 and took on the reins solely in 2014 before the role was handed to teammate Tom Rockliff.
Adcock said he spoke with coach Justin Leppitsch about two weeks before the end of the season and was delivered the news he would not be at the club in 2016.
"It was a weird meeting. It was just me and 'Leppa', and Leppa felt that my form had dropped a little bit," he said.
"But it was more that he was worried that my body had given way more than anything and that my pace was down and change of direction not as good. I found that a bit hard to believe."
Adcock said the ensuing final rounds of the season were difficult knowing he would soon be packing up his locker and departing, describing it as "a kick in the guts".
"But it was really important for me to play well, because I've not got to go out and prove to other teams they should be picking me up and that I do have three good years left in me," he said. "I'm hoping on the weekend some teams were able to see that."
Adcock's credentials are strong. He has been durable – playing 20 or more games in the past five seasons – and will be able to start next pre-season on day one after not requiring off-season surgery.
He has had two top-three finishes in the club's best and fairest (in 2005 and 2007) and was an All Australian nominee in 2007.
He will also be eligible as a delisted free agent, allowing clubs to consider signing him without having to go through the trade process.
"They know me as a defender but having that flexibility and going both ends of the ground is only going to help me find a club next year," Adcock said.
"Hopefully it's not a hard sell but I imagine what will happen is there's probably bigger priorities they're trying to get at the moment and I'll fall through after that."
Adcock and his young family are prepared to move anywhere for another AFL opportunity, having already considered it likely they would leave Queensland after his career at the Lions ended.
He has been developing his skills as part of the Next Coach Program run by respected football assistant coach David Wheadon, and hopes to get into a position as soon as his playing career ends.
"It's probably made me think about footy in a few different ways, but in a lot of ways my beliefs about coaching are the same as his," Adcock said.
"The more I've done it the more I've enjoyed it. There as aspects I've got to do a bit more work on but there are other aspects which I feel right across."
While speculation had dogged the Lions in recent weeks about unrest with some players and their coach – including midfielder Jack Redden who wants to be traded out of the club – Adcock said he had a good relationship with Leppitsch.
"It was never going to be an easy conversation with a 12-year player who has captained the side. It was never going to be easy for him," he said.
"I respect that he was able to tell me face-to-face where he thought my footy was at. It's fine, that's footy and I understand it's a business and sometimes you have to make the tough calls.
"This opens another opportunity for me and we're really excited to find out what that will be and I can play some good footy at another club."