FORMER Carlton defender Jordan Russell says he felt confident he would join Port Adelaide next season but now faces an anxious wait to see if he will revive his AFL career.
Russell, an unrestricted free agent as he had been with the Blues for eight years but outside the top 25 per cent of paid players, flew to Alberton last week to meet Power officials and undergo a medical.
It is thought that had Leon Cameron accepted the Power's senior coaching position, 116-game veteran Russell would have been able to head home in what appeared a ''done deal''.
However, the appointment of Ken Hinkley and senior assistant Alan Richardson, the latter joining from Carlton, changed that.
''We were in a similar boat [thinking it was a done deal] but they obviously thought that Leon Cameron was going to take the job,'' Russell told The Age. ''Then Danyle Pearce left and [Troy] Chaplin left. I thought that week they were talking about putting an offer in.
''Then pretty much when all that stuff happened, it [his contract] all kept getting pushed back and pushed back. Then it got pushed to the next week and then they hired Hinkley and the other guys and got [Angus] Monfries across.''
It is understood the Power has said it would prefer to recruit a taller defender than the 188-centimetre Russell, who was runner-up in the Blues' best and fairest in 2010. This could be Hawthorn's Stephen Gilham.
Power list manager Jason Cripps yesterday confirmed Russell was no longer on his radar, although football manager Peter Rohde said he could yet be considered at the end of the trade period, highlighting the uncertainty the under-siege club finds itself in.
However, there has been interest elsewhere in Russell, who was taken with the ninth pick in the 2004 national draft and had been in the Blues' leadership group for the past two years. He played 16 matches in 2011 after surgery on both hips and back spasms but finished the year in the VFL. He fell out of favour with coach Brett Ratten last season, managed only seven matches and was told he would not be a part of new coach Mick Malthouse's plans.
''I am really looking forward to getting another opportunity,'' Russell said. ''Things were rosy and then I got a bit of a reality check. I still have four or five more years of good footy and I don't think I have hit my straps yet.
''I have a lot to give a club and am willing to go wherever it takes me to get that opportunity and ultimately forge a new career at a different club and forge some success at a new club.''
The rebounding half-back, who turns 26 next month, said the 2012 campaign was a year of ''wasted opportunities''.
''I was playing some really good footy in the twos and kept putting my hand up and saying, 'What is going on, what is going on?'
''Week after week it didn't quite fall my way. I think I was averaging 23 or 24 touches on the half-back line, six or seven tackles. I felt within myself I was ready to get back to playing seniors.
''I had a couple of opportunities but when I came up and played, I didn't take them.''