SAM McLARTY was taking in the sights of ancient Pompeii, pondering how so many lives changed so quickly, when his own life altered.

It was late October and the untried Collingwood youngster had been nervous because his initial two-year contract had expired and he was yet to receive a commitment from the club.

With his playing future in limbo, McLarty, 20, had taken off on a European holiday that took in the United Kingdom and Italy.

He was a fascinated tourist at the ruins of Pompeii, the ancient city destroyed by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in AD79, when his mobile phone rang and he was told he would be delisted.

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Amid the disappointment, his surroundings provided an immediate shot of perspective.

"When I got the call I was actually looking at (casts of) people who'd perished. I thought, 'Well, jeez, I'm glad I'm not them,'" McLarty told

The versatile big man seemed unlucky to be discarded by the Pies.

The No. 30 pick in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft, McLarty was named an emergency seven times this year, including in each of the last five rounds when he seemed on the verge of making his AFL debut as a mounting injury toll forced the Magpies to dig deep.

Tall players traditionally take time to mature, and the long kicking, strong-marking McLarty had played all over the field in his 32 VFL games.

Standing 197cms, he spent his first season in defence before impressing this year as a mobile ruck/forward.

However, Collingwood's recruitment of Bulldogs premiership player Jordan Roughead, also a flexible tall, seemed to have rendered McLarty surplus to requirements for the grand finallist.

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Now he remains determined to pursue his AFL dream at a new home. He has attracted some interest and is eyeing a lifeline in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft on November 23.

"I was disappointed (to be delisted) and there was also an element of surprise, but when your contract's out at the end of the year and you still haven't been renewed, you do ask questions," McLarty said.

"I felt I was tracking along really well. And I thought that with another full pre-season under my belt to improve my body and my fitness and those physical attributes, it would have done me the world of good.

"But life goes on and hopefully another opportunity will open up and I'll get the chance to do that at another club …

"I'd be prepared to go to the Tiwi Islands to play League footy."

McLarty won't be found wanting for resilience. Born profoundly deaf, he can only hear courtesy of a cochlear implant in his right ear. His axing is another opportunity to prove people wrong.

The former Oakleigh Chargers TAC Cup star believed another club would benefit from his versatility and honest approach.

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"What I bring is vigour and aggression at the contest, and a competitive edge. As a big guy, I like to impose myself," he said.

A prospective suitor would also gain a keen learner who has been mentored by Collingwood's ruck star Brodie Grundy.

"Brodie has had a big influence on me – on and off the field," McLarty said.

"He's climbing Everest at the moment so he's not your typical AFL player.

"He taught me a lot about footy and his attitude towards life, which I'd describe as relaxed intensity. He seems relaxed on the outside but inside there's a real drive.

"It's different and it's eye-opening, but it's special and it's reaping the rewards for him. I try to emulate that."

If unsuccessful this draft, McLarty would likely try to work his way back to the AFL via the VFL.

He would also continue to throw himself into his studies, having already completed two years of a science degree, along with a couple of journalism units, at Monash University.

"I don't like being idle. I like to keep moving," McLarty said.

Sam McLarty in action for Collingwood in the VFL this season. Picture: AFL Photos