Michael Barlow of the Dockers handballs during the round 17 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Geelong Cats at Domain Stadium on July 15, 2016 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Cornes: Crows must sign Barlow

Former Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes says the crows must give a lifeline to out-of-contract Docker, Michael Barlow, following their failure to sign Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs, as well as the departure of onballer Jarryd Lyons.

Barlow, 28, is yet to be offered a contract extension by Fremantle and looks destined to be forced out of the club.

He received little interest in the recent trade period, however, could still be picked up in the pre-season draft in November.

Cornes says that given the club’s failed attempt to orchestrate a deal with Carlton for Bryce Gibbs and the loss of promising midfielder Jarryd Lyons, Adelaide need more depth in the midfielder next season and Barlow looms as the obvious choice, a s aready made player.

“The Crows need to do something because after failing to land Gibbs and losing Lyons their midfield is in trouble if they get injuries or players are out of form next season,’’ Cornes said.

“We saw them really struggle when (Rory) Sloane and (Brodie) Smith missed the West Coast game in round 23 and that is realistically what’s going to happen throughout next year because they had a good injury run this year but they will be tested by injuries at some point.

“So they need some more depth through there and Barlow is that big-bodied, mature player they could do with.

“He won’t cost you anything as far as giving up picks or anything, as a free agent, he’s got great character and great leadership and he’s a better prospect than a (14-gamer) Cam Ellis-Yolmen.

“For where Adelaide is at, and its goal has to be to finish in the top four, Barlow will offer that ready-made, mature midfielder with finals experience and leadership ability who could be a difference-maker.

“He’ll find a home somewhere and I’d be surprised if Adelaide hasn’t already spoken to him.’’

Barlow played only 13 games in 2016, but averaged 24.5 disposals per game.