Essendon are confident young stars Joe Daniher and Darcy Parish will sign new contracts once the AFL’s industrial dispute is resolved.
The league’s ongoing feud with the AFL Players Association over a new collective bargaining agreement has led to contract negotiations being placed on hold at a number of clubs.
Talented key forward Daniher and emerging midfielder Parish are both off-contract at the end of the year and would attract plenty of interest.
Speedy midfielder David Zaharakis’s deal also runs out at this season but Bombers list manager Adrian Dodoro is confident the CBA stoush is all that is stopping the trio from inking new deals.
“I think that once the CBA is announced, that will really fast-track the conversations but I don’t see any issues there at all,” he said on a Bombers podcast.
“Player agents do like to wait, and they like to make sure that they maximise everything, and that’s fair enough – they’ve got to look after themselves and their client.
“There’s a couple of contracts that are on hold at the moment until the CBA comes out, and you have to respect that.”
Dodoro said he believed Essendon would quickly become a destination club again, with players having moved on from the supplements saga which tarnished the club.
The Bombers are hopeful of luring free agents in coming seasons and will look to find rebounding defenders and midfielders to replace some of their ageing stalwarts.
Former skipper Jobe Watson is 32, Brendon Goddard will be the same age in May and Brent Stanton is nearing his 31st birthday.
Dodoro also revealed how close the Bombers came to selecting Rory Lobb ahead of Zach Merrett in the stacked 2013 draft.
Essendon’s recruiters told Lobb he would be moving from his home state of Western Australia to play for Essendon but changed their mind at the last minute after speaking to then-coach Mark Thompson.
“Our list management strategy was we needed a ruckman,” Dodoro said.
“So Rory got the phone call to say ‘you’re being drafted by us’ and then when it came to the pick, ‘Bomber’ just said ‘go with what your heart tells you to do’.
“We changed our mind. I think there was an expletive and I said ‘bugger it, we’re doing it’, and we picked Zach.”
Lobb was drafted by Greater Western Sydney and has developed into an impressive ruck-forward, while Merrett – Essendon’s best and fairest winner last year – has become one of the AFL’s best young midfielders.