Jake Stringer has declared he gave his all to the Western Bulldogs, revealing he was shocked and upset at being told he would be traded.
The robust forward nicknamed "The Package" conceded on Tuesday he could have prepared better off the field this year but denied he had been late to training because he had to organise care for his children and had partied too hard after last year's premiership.
"There's just a whole lot of things I could have done better, whether it was training or games. It's just the whole-life sort of thing for me," he said.
He managed a modest 24 goals in 16 matches this season and averaged 12 disposals a game.
Stringer split from wife Abby in December. They have two young children but Stringer said Abby had always been more than accommodating over his football career.
"I am only young. I have learnt a lot this year. I am really looking forward for what's next for me," he said.
"I have never been late to training. Abby has been fully supportive of me in my time at the Bulldogs. She has helped me out with the kids and all that type of stuff. There has never been a problem with being late because of the kids because she has always been there, to be able to take them off me or give them to me after training."
Stringer, 23, said he was still baffled as to why the Bulldogs had wanted to part ways, having not been given a reason by coach Luke Beveridge.
"I don't know the exact details on why. I haven't spoken to Bevo. I've spoken to [list manager] Jason McCartney about those type of things," he said.
Stringer said it was too late to seek answers from Beveridge, who has refused to publicly discuss the reasons behind the trade other than to declare the relationship is not "irretrievable" if an appropriate deal cannot be brokered.
"It's past that point now. It's sort of just one of those things," Stringer said.
His managers Paul Connors and Robbie D'Orazio had been called to a meeting with Beveridge, McCartney and head of football Chris Grant a fortnight after Stringer's exit meeting which, according to Connors, "went a lot better than many people think".
When the news of the Dogs' decision was relayed to him, Stringer, contracted until the end of 2018, said it was a "shock" and he was "upset".
"I played in a premiership with them. I love all the boys, I love all the members, I love the club," he said.
"It was a shock to me, but we just have to move on."
Stringer required weekly injections in the second half of the 2016 campaign to get on the field, corresponding with his drop in form.
"You do everything you can, week in, week out, to get up and play for your club and your teammates ... I did that last year and I felt I did that this year," he said.
Speaking at the launch of AFL Trade Radio, Stringer said he had had no inkling that the Dogs had wanted him out.
"We just spoke about family and life and I was really confident walking out of there," he said.
"I was just looking forward to putting my head down over the pre-season and working hard. But, unfortunately, things have changed."
Essendon have already met with him over coffee with list manager Adrian Dodoro while Geelong have also expressed interest.
Dodoro said it was too early to declare what the Bombers would be prepared to give up for a man who was the fifth selection in the 2012 national draft.
"There is a lot to play out during the trade period. I think we will be just wait and see who he nominates as the club before we declare our hand," he said.
Connors said Stringer would nominate his preferred club within weeks.
Stringer and Connors said the All-Australian would only join a Victorian-based side.
"A lot of the Melbourne clubs appeal. I think most of the clubs appeal to me. It's just about meeting them over the next two or three weeks," Stringer said.
Connors confirmed Bulldogs forward Travis Cloke would play on next year. Cloke, who took time out this year because of mental health issues, has a year remaining on his contract.