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Bombers move to shore up list

Signing up: The Bombers' Brent Stanton.

Signing up: The Bombers' Brent Stanton. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

ESSENDON and Brent Stanton are close to agreement on a three-year contract extension, as the ascending Bombers begin an intensive period of re-signing their large contingent of players who come out of contract this year.

Patrick Ryder's management is in discussions with the club, as is that of fellow Western Australian Ben Howlett, while the greatly improved Sam Lonergan and Leroy Jetta (also from WA) and Angus Monfries head the list of those the Dons will try to re-contract over the next 10 weeks.

Ryder, who has been of interest to Greater Western Sydney, is expected to seek a deal of four or more years.

The Dons have an even larger group of players coming off contract than Collingwood - 16 or 17 senior list players - but the fact that many are either veterans nearing the end of their careers or players without huge names, has meant there has been little focus on them.

In addition to Stanton, Ryder, Howlett, Lonergan, Jetta and Monfries, the players whose contracts for 2013 have yet to be secured include Alwyn Davey, David Myers, Kyle Reimers, Ricky Dyson, Brent Prismall and veterans David Hille, Mark McVeigh, Dustin Fletcher and Nathan Lovett-Murray.

Key forward Michael Hurley was re-signed earlier this year on a five-year deal that will make him the club's highest-paid player.

While there has been speculation about Essendon's desire to recruit a blue-chip midfielder to press for a premiership, chief executive Ian Robson said last night that the notion that the club had a ''war chest'' to embark on ''a massive raid in the name of free agency'' was not coming from the club, which remained focused on recruiting and developing its own players.

''If feelers come along, we'll look at them, [but] our definite priority is that we'll continue to grow from within,'' he said.

Robson said the club was ''concentrating plans over the next 8-10 weeks to get the [contract] outcomes''.

Stanton and Monfries are eligible for free agency this year, with Stanton set to become a young veteran-listed player from next year under the new rules (giving Essendon a salary cap discount of $112,000).

The Bombers will meet with player manager Colin Young next week to discuss the futures of Jetta and Myers. The situations of McVeigh, 31, Hille, 30, and Fletcher, 37, are likely to be left until later in the season.

Coach James Hird has said that Fletcher has the right to determine whether he plays on in 2013 in what would be the defender's 21st season and would put him close to 400 games.

While Essendon carries the perception it doesn't have the A-graders on its list like some other clubs, the Dons are pleased they have demonstrated - amid a plethora of soft-tissue injuries - they have a depth of players who can perform and fulfil a role for the team.

''We've been delighted at how we've been able to respond,'' Robson said of the injuries in the opening six rounds.

Negotiations over Stanton, who was runner-up in the best and fairest last season, have been handled by his former teammate Adam Ramanauskas at Elite Sports Properties.

8 comments

  • I dont think essendon has much to worry about their list, players that have been with the club for that length of time are not likely to go anywhere. Like all the main power clubs they seem to retain their players quite well. I think the only bomber that a fair few clubs would have on their radar is Stanton.

    Commenter
    johnson
    Location
    syd
    Date and time
    May 10, 2012, 8:45AM
    • Really 'johnson'? He's played 5 good games in his career, and they've been all in 2012. Nobody has missed the way Essendon fans have treated Stanton for so long. He'll be out at the first good offer just to stick it up them... and so he should.

      Commenter
      Countin's The Silverware
      Location
      Visy Park
      Date and time
      May 10, 2012, 1:15PM
    • Interesting 'Countin's The Silverware'... you have this immaculate memory for how you believe he was treated by Bomber fans, yet can't seem to recall any good games outside 2012...
      Selective memory? Or just don't watch enough football?
      He's finished top 3 in the club best and fairest in 3 of the last 4 years - so the club definitely rates him. As for his 'treatment' - well, there are idiots at every club, and the last time I went to a game where he was jeered, it was actually the opposition supporters thinking they were funny.

      Commenter
      Monty
      Location
      Glen Waverley
      Date and time
      May 10, 2012, 5:00PM
  • But unlike a lot of the so called 'power clubs', they haven't raided other clubs lists. I believe that creates a more stable environment.

    Commenter
    bomber
    Location
    Ballarat
    Date and time
    May 10, 2012, 9:51AM
    • Bombers actually in a handy position. McVeigh and Hille (with Bellchambers improvement and Joe Daniher coming next year) won't be missed if they go north, and plenty of space in the cap to sure up their current underrated list.

      Commenter
      DJCJ
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 10, 2012, 9:52AM
      • Next A grader just as likely to come from within than trying to land a big fish from elsewhere. Zaharakis will be starting to come of age soon and getting up around that seemingly important 100 game mark late next season. Has a lot of tricks does Zaka.

        Commenter
        Reverse Concave Spoon
        Date and time
        May 10, 2012, 10:36AM
        • The only thing Essendon have raided are other teams' coaching ranks (bomber hehehe)...but then again essendon has produced more assistant and senior coaches over the last 10-15 years than any other club, so may that balances things out a bit ;)

          Commenter
          Paul
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          May 10, 2012, 10:48AM
          • it's great for essendon that they are getting some stability, but it's obvious they need 1-2 more good midfielders in order to step up to the next level.
            This is shown in how hard they went for Josh Caddy at the end of 2011.
            So it means they may end up losing a couple of their favourites to make some room in the cap and set up for the long term.

            Commenter
            Crow
            Location
            Melbourne
            Date and time
            May 10, 2012, 12:53PM
            Comments are now closed

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