Carlton has called time on the Liam Stocker era after only four seasons, delisting him alongside journeyman wingman Will Hayes on Monday.
The Blues famously swapped future first-round picks with Adelaide during the 2018 AFL draft while acquiring pick 19 to use on Stocker, who then-list boss Stephen Silvagni rated the sixth-best player in the pool.
Stocker won the NAB League’s Morrish Medal that season as a midfielder but was predominantly used as a defender in his 28 games at senior level for Carlton, including only six in 2022.
There was no clear path to midfield minutes at the Blues this year or into the future and he finished his career in navy blue with a meagre five disposals in the season-ending round 23 loss to Collingwood.
Speaking about Stocker two years after drafting him and having departed the club by then, Silvagni slammed critics for a lack of patience and maintained belief that the 22-year-old would be a success.
“He is a player who is highly competitive and an exceptional kick,” Silvagni told Trade Radio at the time.
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“He needs to work on his endurance, like a lot of players, to be honest, but he’s a fierce competitor and I think he’ll be a serious player down the track.”
The deal didn’t end up being overly fruitful for the Crows either.
The deal was at the time described as a “mega trade” and a massive gamble from the Blues.
They ended up offloading that future pick, which ended up being pick four (Lachie Ash) in 2019, to the Giants for selection No.6 (Fischer McAsey) and a 2020 first-round selection (Luke Pedlar).
McAsey played 10 games in his debut season but none the past two years and is now in Carlton’s sights, while Pedlar has made five senior appearances in his two seasons on Adelaide’s list.
The Blues ended up ‘splitting’ the 2019 first-round pick they received from the Crows in separate trades with Gold Coast and Port Adelaide to end up with Brodie Kemp (six games) and Sam Philp (two).
Numerous other clubs and footballers were involved indirectly as a result of that original pick swap for Stocker.
Stocker has publicly detailed his mental health challenges, particularly with anxiety and panic attacks, since departing the Covid-19-related hub during the 2020 season.
He looked to have turned the corner when he played 17 matches last year.
But Stocker’s cause wasn’t helped when he suffered a syndesmosis setback just before Christmas last year then hurt his AC joint in his first senior game of the year in round 7.
Ex-Bulldog Hayes joined Carlton in this year’s mid-season draft and added two games to his 13 overall.
“Liam gave great effort during his four seasons here and while he was not able to solidify his place in the side this year, his capacity to continue to work hard was a testament to him,” Blues list manager Nick Austin said.
“Although Will was only on the list for a short period of time, his efforts to earn a place in the side to play two games was a result of his work ethic.
“We thank both players for their contributions during their time at the Club and wish them all the best for the future.”