MELBOURNE has informed Jay Lockhart, Aaron Nietschke and Austin Bradtke that they will not be offered contracts for the 2022 season.
The trio was notified of the news on Monday afternoon, as the Demons prepare to return home from Perth following the weekend’s success.
In addition, Aaron Vandenberg and the club have agreed that the midfielder will seek opportunities elsewhere after 51 games in the red and blue.
“We had to have some difficult conversations this afternoon, which is always tough but particularly tough after an exciting weekend for our club,” List Manager Tim Lamb told Melbourne Media.
“Jay, Aaron and Austin have all made a great contribution to Melbourne and displayed excellent character throughout their time at the club.
“We wish the boys all the best for the future and thank them for everything they have given to the club.
“Vanders has made a significant contribution over his seven years at the club. His ability to set standards on and off the field has been significant in our growth over this period.
“I know our supporters loved the brutal way that Vanders played the game. His performances in some big games for the club, including the 2018 AFL Finals Series will be long remembered.
“We wish Vanders all the best for whatever comes next.”
Lockhart played 22 games over his time at Melbourne, having joined the club as a pre-season supplemental selection in 2019.
He was Melbourne’s first use of the new rule, allowing teams to fill spots ahead of the season, and made his debut less than three weeks later.
Originally from Tasmania, Lockhart went on to play 12 matches in his first season and 10 in his second but was unable to break into the senior side this year.
Nietschke and Bradtke unfortunately never got the opportunity to pull on the red and blue, with the former hit by a luckless run of injuries.
South Australian-born Nietschke suffered three ACLs in his time at the club, having first been selected with pick No.53 in the 2018 National Draft before being delisted and redrafted as a rookie in 2019.
While the challenging setbacks prevented him from ever getting a proper shot at it, his resilience and attitude has remained first class.
Bradtke’s development, on the other hand, has been impacted by the ongoing interruptions to the VFL season.
The ex-basketballer, who comes from a strong sporting family, has struggled to clock up minutes at the Casey Demons, following last year’s cancellation and this season’s premature end.
Bradtke signed with Melbourne in late 2019 as a Category B rookie.
It marks the first list changes for the Demons this off-season and follows Nathan Jones’ retirement last week.