A frustrated and disappointed Jack Watts remains hopeful he can continue with Melbourne next season.
Demons coach Simon Goodwin has publicly and privately urged Watts to explore his options elsewhere after 153 games in nine seasons with the club.
Watts has struggled to live up to the expectations that came with being the No.1 pick at the 2008 draft, but produced his best season last year.
He signed a new three-year deal heading into the 2017 season but found himself on the outer with the new coach.
Citing inconsistencies in his application to training, Goodwin overlooked Watts for pre-season matches and dropped him late in the home-and-away season.
But the 26-year-old told reporters on Tuesday he is confident his best football is ahead of him and he hopes that will be with Melbourne.
“I see a really strong future for the Demons so it would be pretty disappointing if I have to miss out on that after everything we’ve gone through,” Watts said.
“Of course, I want to stay. We’ve had (trade) options over the past four or five years (but) that love for the club and love for the boys has kept me there.
“That hasn’t changed.
“Obviously I’m still contracted at Melbourne for the next two years … I love the club and I love the boys, so we’ll wait and see.
“I might still be there next year.”
Watts was tight-lipped on reports he has met with Port Adelaide and Sydney to discuss a potential move.
Goodwin has expressed frustration about the unchanged cycle of expectation and pressure on Watts and the club over the years as he’s struggled to get the best out of himself.
“That’s Goody’s opinion,” Watts said.
“I guess I found it hard to get that consistent sort of form (this year), especially when some key people at the club were thinking that, that’s their views and their attitude.
“I’m really confident with the footy I can play – that I was playing in the middle of this year.
“Seeing where the club is at the moment and where they can go … playing finals next year will be a real goal.
“It will be a shock to the system if I’m going to miss that.”