Lloyd 'unlikely to play AFL next year' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lloyd 'unlikely to play AFL next year'

By Sam Lienert 10/09/2009 08:07:13 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Matthew Knights believes captain Matthew Lloyd is not certain he wants to play on next season.

Knights met with Lloyd, 31 and the club's greatest ever goal-kicker, on Thursday to discuss his AFL future.

While the coach said there was still a place at Windy Hill for Lloyd if he wanted it, Knights said the fact the champion full-forward had not already come knocking on his door suggested there were doubts.

"It's a real tough one, the fact that it's been deferred and he's not sure obviously puts a question mark around that," Knights said on Melbourne radio station SEN.

"If he was very, very sure about playing on he probably would have come to me earlier."

Knights said the key factor if Lloyd wants to play on is whether he will be willing to accept a back seat to the club's young emerging key forwards.

He compared it to the role 34-year-old defender Dustin Fletcher is filling as a third tall backman, alongside Tayte Pears and Cale Hooker.

"Most importantly I need him to commit but more so to embrace (that role)," Knights said.

"That's the most important thing and Dustin Fletcher has really had the same choice.

"I said `Dustin, you're going to play as a third or fourth tall, we need these young guys to help reinvent our defence'.

"Dustin's come through that door, he's bashed it down and said `I'm ready to go and I want to play'."

Knights said he could not guarantee Lloyd or any other player regular selection in the senior side.

But he said the skipper was smart enough to understand that.

"We're going to talk about his role for next year, what I'm looking for out of him as coach next season, about his body and his hunger for the game and then Matthew will have a choice to make," he said.

"... He deserves that respect as a champion of the club, he deserves all the cards to be on the table so he can make a valued decision on whether he wants to be part of this young group moving forward.

"... We've given him enough time, a long time to do that.

"I am pretty sure when we meet he is going to be pretty concrete on what he wants to do or what he doesn't."

Essendon football manager Paul Hamilton said the Bombers had given Lloyd some time to weigh up his future.

"Lloyd has now been given some time to consider his future and will advise the club of his decision in due course," Hamilton said on the club's website.

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