Delisted Essendon swingman James Stewart has opened up on his surprise Bombers departure, having been cut from the club with a year to run on his contract.

2024 was set to be Stewart's eighth in the red and black, having sought a move to Tullamarine from GWS at the end of the 2016 season.

The 29-year-old battled with form and injury over his final two seasons with Essendon, playing six games at AFL level last year and would make just two appearances for the club's VFL side in 2023 after spending time away from football due to the recent passing of his father, Craig.

Ahead of the Bombers' final game of the season, Stewart was notified his time with the club wouldn't continue next year despite a year to run on his contract.

The list call came without warning to Stewart, who told The Herald Sun that the sudden farewell "could have been handled better".

"I found it difficult to rationalise the decision," Stewart told the publication.

"At the end of the day I have to accept it. But I am in a spot where at 29 I feel I have got so much great footy ahead of me.

BENDIGO, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: James Stewart of the Bombers kicks the ball during the AFL 2017 JLT Community Series match between the Geelong Cats and the Essendon Bombers at the Queen Elizabeth Oval on March 12, 2017 in Bendigo, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

"... I got pulled into a meeting before the last round of the season and had a discussion. I knew I was leaving my run late but I was pulled into a meeting and they said this decision has been made.

"I said I would have hoped to have your backing but I will roll up and prove you wrong.

"I have been around the industry long enough to know not many of us get a Joel Selwood-style ending but at the same time I think it could have been handled better."

The Herald Sun has revealed St Kilda have shown some level of interest in the Sandringham Dragons product, who has 78 games of experience at AFL level as both a lockdown defender or marking forward.

The Saints could offer Stewart a training position with the club over the pre-season, while his management is also said to be evaluating potential interest from Sydney.

Stewart said he's "not ready to walk away from footy" and believes his body is as fit as it has been since the start of his career.

"There was no forewarning but I am more than motivated given what I have been through," he added.

"The motivation shifts. Not to prove people there wrong, but to prove people like my dad right who believe in me and what I can do.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: James Stewart of Essendon celebrates kicking a goal during the VFL Semi Final match between Richmond and Essendon at North Port Oval on September 8, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/AFL Media/Getty Images)

"I am not ready to walk away from footy. I am so bullish about my ability and where I am in my career.

"The people who made the decision didn't get to see me at my full potential but in your career you have ups and downs so sometimes things happen for a reason."

Stewart was one of seven Essendon players to be delisted by the club this year, joining Alastair Lord, Rhett Montgomerie, Anthony Munkara, Will Snelling, Patrick Voss and Cian McBride in leaving the club.