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July 14th, 2018 by admin

AFL trades: Essendon top-up players James Kelly and Matt Dea to stay at Bombers

Essendon top-up players Matt Dea and James Kelly are coming back to the Bombers in 2017.
Nanjing Night Net

Two of the 10 players taken early this year by the Dons to help fill the gap left by the dozen players banned for the duration of the season by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, both Kelly and Dea impressed in defence throughout the year.

Three-time Geelong premiership player Kelly, who turns 33 in December, played 20 games this season after ending his 14-year stint at Geelong at the end of 2015. Spending the year at half-back, Kelly finished equal second in the Dons’ best and fairest. Dea, 24, finished ninth in the best and fairest having played 21 games in the backline after being delisted by Richmond at the end of last year.

Essendon general manager of football Rob Kerr said both players deserved their spots on the list in 2017. “We have been in constant dialogue with James, Matt and each of their management groups since the end of the season regarding the opportunity for them to return,” Kerr said.

“They both had outstanding seasons in 2016 and were important leaders for the team both on and off the field.

“We know James and Matt are keen to play on in the red and black and we are looking forward to what they can continue to offer with their experience next season.”

The AFL has ruled that the Bombers can pick both players up as free agents on November 1. “The ruling with the players that we picked up as a result of the CAS decision was that those players had to be delisted at the end of the season,” Kerr told the club’s website.

“When list lodgment goes in those players will be delisted and then under the AFL rules you have a delisted free agency period, which commences Tuesday November 1.

“At that time we’ll lodge the offer to the players [Kelly and Dea] and every indication is that they’ll accept it.

“Obviously there has been conversations with managers and players and they’re both keen to continue with Essendon, which is great news for us.”

The decision to keep Dea and Kelly places pressure on out-of-contract trio Shaun McKernan, Nick Kommer and Courtenay Dempsey. The Dons are believed to be keen to wait until the end of trade period before making calls on the trio’s futures. Essendon have been linked to out-of-contract Western Bulldogs midfielder Koby Stevens and contracted Port Adelaide half-back Hamish Hartlett, who is open to a move.

Having claimed their first wooden spoon in 83 years, Essendon will regain 10 of the 12 players banned for 2016 ahead of next season. Only rebounding defender Michael Hibberd – who is bound for Melbourne – and tall backman Tayte Pears, who has retired, have decided not to recommit to the Dons.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.