UPDATE: Dumped Lion Andrew Raines says he has plenty to offer
By Michael Whiting
ANDREW Raines believes he has plenty of good years left in him and is hopeful of extending his 11-year career after the Brisbane Lions waved him goodbye.
While the Lions officially cut ties with the 28-year-old this week, Raines says coach Justin Leppitsch told him two months ago he was not in the club's future plans.
But rather than kid himself with a retirement announcement, the midfielder wants to prolong his career at a third club and says he has plenty to offer.
Raines has played 123 games – 56 with Richmond and 67 with the Lions – but just four in 2014.
"My body's good, my mind's fresh, so I'm ready to go again if someone gives me the opportunity," Raines told AFL.com.au.
The Gold Coast product is unquestionably one of – if not the – most professional player on the Lions list.
He is meticulous with his training, diet and preparation and says he has lost none of his speed or running ability.
At 31, Melbourne's Daniel Cross is a prime example of a mature midfielder who has thrived after getting another chance in a new environment, averaging 22 disposals in his 16 games this season under Paul Roos.
Raines feels he can have a similar impact.
"At 28, you've still got a bit to give," he said.
"You should be starting to play some of your better footy from that 25- to 30-year age bracket.
"I know it's coming towards the latter part of my career, but at the same time I think it's a pretty good age.
"I'm prepared to look at all options. It could be a slim chance; I've got no idea.
"I'm not sure if there'll be a lot of interest; you've got to be realistic and know your chances aren't as high as they are when I was 23 or 24."
Raines proved himself in recent seasons as one of the best taggers in the League, having some engrossing duels with the game's best midfielders.
He was used in a more attacking vein in his limited chances this season and said his 24-disposal performance in round six against St Kilda – a major reason for the Lions' win – was one of the best offensive outings of his career.
Raines said he held no grudges towards the Lions and loved his five years at the club.
"I appreciated Leppa's honesty and he was up front with me about it," he said.
"I felt it wasn't a form thing, but more circumstantial with where the list was going.
"I'd like to thank the footy club for giving me the opportunity to come back and play in my home state.
"I've made some amazing friendships, friends for life with a few of my teammates.
"But now I hope I can continue my career somewhere else."
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