Ex-Bulldogs midfielder Will Hayes was told earlier this month that he will not receive a new contract to stay at Whitten Oval.
The 26-year-old is the son of champion horse trainer David Hayes, and he envisages entering the racing industry with his family after football.
But while speaking to RSN's The Breakfast Club on Wednesday, Hayes revealed that he has not quite given up on playing in the AFL next year.
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"I knew I was probably going to be de-listed the way things were tracking," he said.
"But at the minute, the process is very similar to if I had another contract in terms of keeping fit and making sure that if a contract comes my way I'm ready to take it."
When quizzed by The Breakfast Club if any interest from other clubs, or even a contract, was in store, Hayes said that there's "still a bit of water to go under the bridge with the draft and I'll know more in the coming weeks."
Hayes was drafted through the Bulldogs' VFL pathway as a mature age rookie in 2018. He made his debut in 2019, before playing 11 games across three seasons, although none of them were in 2021.
Playing as a midfielder in the competition's best engine room by way of depth was never favourable, as Hayes acknowledged.
"The stronger the depth of players, the harder it is to get a game," he said.
Although, heading back into the racing industry full time would not be a foreign concept for Hayes, who assists his family already as a stable foreman.
🏉 HAYES RETURNS TO RACING
Will Hayes joins us, the former @westernbulldogs has gone back to assisting his brother Ben with the Hayes stable and currently prepping runners for the upcoming Cup carnival#RSNBreakfastClub
📻 | 927am
🖥 | https://t.co/iWdUgiOYKq
📱 | RSN app pic.twitter.com/NRBFcCUmV9
— RSN Breakfast Club (@RSNBreakfast) October 26, 2021
"I'm hoping that the dream isn't done yet and a pre-season does come my way, but I'm fortunate to have a great industry to go into afterwards. And that's racing. So, I see it as a win-win," he said.
"I've been around the stables since I was a little fella so that makes it second nature."
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