Disgruntled Corowa-Rutherglen star James Lawton says he’ll sit out the season rather than play for the battling club.
Lawton says his second clearance application to Mansfield has been rejected and he’ll submit the third and final one as soon as possible.
Once three clearances have been knocked back, the matter goes to a tribunal.
The star forward is contracted to the Roos, but is seeking to play with Goulburn Valley outfit Mansfield after moving there recently for employment.
“I’m certainly much more focused on my working career, making sure my family’s in a good position at this stage of my life,” Lawton said.
“To be honest, footy’s not the number one priority, it’s not even in the top, sort of, three or four priorities at the moment.
“I’m definitely in no position to commit myself to travel with the expectation that’s on me at Corowa.
“I’m not going to be the player they need me to be, it’s not a situation that my family needs right now.”
Lawton was then quizzed if he would miss a year of football if forced to meet his commitments in the O and M.
“Yeah, definitely, I’m 27 now mate and obviously I’ve got the two young ones,” he said.
“Footy’s taken me around everywhere, I’m at the stage it’s not going to be footy taking me around anymore, it’s going to be best for my family.
“I’d sit out footy before I’d have to travel back there.”
The Roos have lost 38 straight games - the league’s second-longest losing streak behind Myrtleford’s 62 – and Lawton is so talented, he could single-handedly break that run with a match-winning performance.
“He totally understands our position and we’re not going to clear him, so if he wants to play footy, he’ll play for us,” Corowa-Rutherglen coach Marc Almond said.
Lawton missed the first six games through suspension last year, but still finished third in the best and fairest.
Meanwhile, winner Brent Rose is also looking to leave.
“We’ve had no contact with Brent, he told me not to contact him, so I’ve respected his wishes,” Almond said.
“We’re still not going to clear Brent.”