FORMER Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow ended what he described as a "really tough" past few months by joining Gold Coast as a delisted free agent on a two-year deal.
Barlow, 28, was cut by Fremantle at the end of the season after finishing eighth in the best and fairest despite playing only 13 games.
He told goldcoastfc.com.au knowing he would not be at the Dockers in 2017 made life difficult.
"I know that I have a lot more AFL football left in me. It's been a really tough last six or seven months, knowing the transition was coming, and the uncertainty of it all. I'm just super excited to sign on here," Barlow said.
He said it had been a carefully considered decision to join the Suns.
"It all happened pretty quickly, but there's been dialogue for four to five months," Barlow said.
"I've agonised over a decision on my future for that whole period. It definitely wasn't spur of the moment.
"There's been a lot of dialogue with myself and a couple of clubs. To make the decision over the past couple of days and make it all official has given me really good clarity to what lies ahead."
☀️s— Michael Barlow (@mbarlow21) November 8, 2016
He met with Suns David Swallow and Matt Rosa last Sunday to discuss the move.
"They were actually saying no one recognises any AFL players on the Gold Coast, not even Gary Ablett. When we got snapped in the coffee shop, it was a bit of a surprise," Barlow said.
"They were really complimentary of the environment here and where the club's going."
The news comes in the wake of the Suns agreeing to release Jarrod Garlett for family reasons, despite him having signed a two-year deal in August. The club said he won't be able to play AFL until 2019.
The tough onballer lined up in 126 games for the Dockers after being drafted as a rookie in 2009.
A brilliant debut season saw him rack up 12 votes in the Brownlow Medal in only 13 games before a badly broken leg ended his season.
Barlow was dropped early in 2016 and responded with a combined 83 disposals over the next fortnight before a shoulder injury ended his year prematurely.
The new recruit said he was thrilled to join the Suns.
"The opportunity that arose and the presentation Marcus Ashcroft and Rodney Eade put to me was at the high end and the demographic of the group as well," Barlow said.
"I’m just super excited to come to a group that sees real worth for my attributes."