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Dustin Fletcher to play on in 2014

Date

Scott Spits

Dustin Fletcher at St Kilda Sea Baths this year.

Dustin Fletcher at St Kilda Sea Baths this year. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Evergreen Bomber Dustin Fletcher will play on for a 22nd AFL season with Essendon, the veteran Bomber virtually assured of passing Simon Madden as the club's games record holder.

It was revealed at the club's best-and-fairest count on Wednesday night that the 38-year-old had signed on for yet another season at Windy Hill. His announcement was met with loud applause.

"I'm pleased to tell you I will be having a crack next year," he said.

Fletcher will turn 39 next May and currently shares the Essendon games record of 378 with Madden.

They are equal-fourth on the AFL games record behind Hawthorn's Michael Tuck (426), Richmond’s Kevin Bartlett (403) and St Kilda’s two-time Brownlow Medallist Robert Harvey (383).

Fletcher played 13 senior games this season and is on track to overtake Harvey next year. He was suspended for the last two games of this season and then Essendon were kicked out of the finals because of their supplements scandal.

Function host Tim Watson joked with Fletcher that he had not mentioned he had signed a 10-year deal like Lance Franklin with the Swans.

Fletcher made his AFL debut in 1993 at the age of 17, when he was still in school, and has been remarkable for his durability.The Bombers backman referred to Franklin’s controversial deal with Sydney when he spoke about his new contract.

‘‘It would be nice if it was nine or $10 million, but ... I’m just happy with the loose change they have left over,’’ he said.

Earlier, Fletcher said his late-season suspension had given him motivation to play again.

"To be honest missing the last couple of games this year made me really hungry to play again in 2014," Fletcher told the club's website.

"I've said it before, but to be able to come to the club and work with 40 of your mates and play footy for a living is a great job.

"Breaking the club's games record wasn't a motivating factor for me. The body is feeling good, I've still got my speed and we've got a great group of players here."

"While I can still contribute and play my role for the team I want to keep playing."

Scott Spits and AAP

24 comments so far

  • Well done Dustin. An honour to your club and mates. Pity Franklin doesn't have the same integrity. Please don't break Tucks record. I'd be devastated. Well not really, just disappointed.

    Commenter
    Sup
    Date and time
    October 02, 2013, 8:24PM
    • I think Tucks record is safe, but I'd love to see him beat Bartletts.

      Commenter
      BusterH
      Location
      CBD
      Date and time
      October 02, 2013, 8:30PM
  • The exodus continues. Oh the humanity

    Commenter
    CCC
    Date and time
    October 02, 2013, 9:03PM
    • I know you're being sarcastic, but who would want a Bomber?

      Whatever it takes culture, Infraction Notice due any day, and after the first 2 or 3 there aren't any that good to be honest.

      No one's chasing them, and they know it. Hence they're stuck there, like rats in a cage.

      Dustin Fletcher is one who really should be investigated in this Bomber doping scandal.

      Honestly it's not like he's got much to offer the outside world and no job prospects in media, coaching, etc. A prime candidate to do "whatever it took". It's not amazing, it's very suspicious.

      Commenter
      Blue bagger
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 2:25PM
  • Selfish and self centred decision. Denying a place in the team for a young player. Great club servant but time to retire. He will undoubtedly be suspended (AGAIN) so what will he really contributing?

    Commenter
    frankee
    Date and time
    October 02, 2013, 9:32PM
    • That's a great point you make. And I'm surprised Brian Lake can hold his head high after keeping a younger Hawk out of the Grand Final last week. Pure selfishness, that's all it is.

      Commenter
      Laki
      Location
      Windy Hill
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 10:30AM
    • What a stupid statement , fletcher is still one of Essendons best backman and is keeping his spot on the list because of form not sentiment .

      Commenter
      tommy75
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 10:58AM
  • That's great news. And the rush for the door hasn't eventuated. With the exception of Crameri, a fair player who has been offered a better contract, almost every player has re-signed and shown loyalty to the club.

    Commenter
    Brendan
    Location
    Forest Hill
    Date and time
    October 02, 2013, 9:41PM
    • It's either loyalty or simply knowledge that no other club will touch Essendon* players until they know who's going to be suspended for dru.. er.. "supplements".

      Commenter
      Dunit
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 12:11PM
    • Works for us, Dunit. Good to see that this ASADA thing is finally offering us some benefits.

      Commenter
      Laki
      Location
      Windy Hill
      Date and time
      October 03, 2013, 2:22PM

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