Corowa-Rutherglen star James Lawton is seeking a release from his contract to join Goulburn Valley outfit Mansfield next season.
Lawton is working near Mansfield and has told the Roos the travel will make it impossible for him to commit to the club for a second season.
“I understand their position, they’re trying to make a decision based on what’s best for the footy club,” Lawton said.
“It’s a pretty hard decision to make considering where the club is at.
“I’ve certainly enjoyed my time here and I loved the players and loved the people.
“In terms of my future and the family’s future, it made the decision a lot easier.”
We understand James has been working in Mansfield, but he's contracted and the club won't be releasing him from it.Marc Almond
But Corowa-Rutherglen coach Marc Almond said the Roos wouldn't be budging on Lawton’s contract.
“We understand James has been working in Mansfield, but he's contracted and the club won't be releasing him from it,” Almond said.
“We have been supportive of him on and off the field and feel the contract should be honoured.
“I can understand if James needs to travel back and play but he won't be released.”
Reigning club best and fairest winner Brent Rose works with Lawton and is planning to follow him across to Mansfield.
Rose is also contracted at John Foord Oval.
Lawton was outstanding for Corowa-Rutherglen in the 12 matches he played for them after crossing from Riverina league club Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong (GGGM), booting 24 goals.
The 197-centimetre ruckman and key forward missed the first six games of this season due to an overhanging suspension from GGGM during a quarter-time brawl against Leeton-Whitton in 2016.
However, he is currently sitting on a 15-game suspension total, meaning any ban will take him to the point where he’s deregistered and outed for life.
Lawton is expecting it to be a long process and admits it’s one of the toughest decisions to make of his career.
“I’m not going to commit to two contracts, but I’ll be pushing to make the move happen and commit myself to their (Mansfield) footy club as soon as possible,” he said.
“The fact I know the position the footy club is in, they’re in the start of their rebuild and I know I was going to be a big part of that.
“But I can’t really make the decision based on emotion if it’s going to leave myself and the family in a worse position than I would be if I stayed another season.”