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AFL News: 'Not a star' - Cornes slams Dons' monster extension for defender, Pies moving on from flag success

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28th February, 2024
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Essendon’s Jordan Ridley has become the AFL’s latest player to be locked in on a monster contract extension, the defender signing on until the end of the 2029 season.

The 25-year old was already contracted for three further years, but added three more to his ongoing deal to become one of the AFL’s longest-tenured players, and continuing a trend towards longer and longer contracts around the league.

Noted critic of monster deals, Kane Cornes, was baffled by the Bombers’ decision to extend Ridley, saying on SEN Sportsday that the call ‘doesn’t add up’.

I’ve read the most ridiculous press release from the Bombers… the headline is ‘Ridley a Don until 2029’,” he said.

“I think, ‘Okay, they’ve signed up Jordan Ridley the star defender who extends his contract for three more years… he must have been coming out of contract this year and they’ve signed him for three more’.

“But then I thought, ‘That doesn’t add up, 2029?’. So, I read it and it said that ‘defender Jordan Ridley has secured his future with the Bombers, putting pen to paper on a three-year contract extension until the end of 2029. Ridley was already signed to the club until the end of 2026’.

“He had three years to go on a contract and some bright spark at Essendon is going, ‘Hang on, three is not enough, let’s extend him for three more’.


Adding to Cornes’ puzzlement is that it comes just days after Melbourne star Angus Brayshaw was forced to medically retire after a series of concussions, with the Demons having signed him on a six-year contract less than two years ago.

“He’s [Ridley] not a star of the competition – they had him signed for three more years; in a week where Angus Brayshaw is going to be paid out five years of a contract, one year into it,” Cornes said.

“We’ve seen Clayton Oliver go off the rails. I’m not suggesting Jordan Ridley is going to go off the rails in that way, but he did rip his quad pretty badly and missed the last five or six games of last season.

“He’s 25 and he’s not a star of the competition. He’s not someone you need to sign up for three extra years after you’ve already got three.


“What are we doing with contracts? I don’t understand. Would you not assess it in two more seasons and then see where he’s at?”

Ridley has been joined on a long-term deal by North Melbourne reigning Rising Star winner Harry Sheezel, who put pen to paper on a whopping contract extension through to the end of 2030.

The current longest-tenured player in the league is Western Bulldogs forward Aaron Naughton, who signed an eight-year extension at the end of last year tying him to the club until the end of 2032.

Jordan Ridley

Jordan Ridley. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Tiger’s injury blow on season eve confirmed

Richmond is set to be without Jack Graham for the start of the AFL season, after the midfielder suffered a quad injury in the dying seconds of the Tigers’ pre-season clash with Collingwood.

Graham limped from Ikon Park with under a minute to go in the match, with scans confirming a moderate quad strain that will rule him out for 3-5 weeks.


The 26-year old has long been a staple of the Tigers’ best 22, playing 20 games in 2023 as part of the midfield rotation.

He played in two of the Tigers’ three premierships in 2017 and 2020 – kicking three goals in the former – but missed the 2019 grand final win after dislocating his shoulder in the preliminary final.

Pies moving on from premiership success, says Daicos

Reigning premiers Collingwood have ‘drawn a line in the sand’ on their remarkable 2023 grand final win and are moving on, according to star midfielder Nick Daicos.

Having finished second-last in 2021, the Pies’ resurgence under coach Craig McRae over the last two years, making a preliminary final in 2022 and tasting the ultimate success last year, has been the stuff of football folklore.

But speaking to 9 News at the premiere of the club’s premiership documentary, Take the Steps, Daicos said the Pies are only looking forward.


“We’ve definitely celebrated 2023, we’re super proud of our efforts,” he said.

“But we’ve drawn a line in the sand now, we know that’s last year and the ladder will reset.

“We’re ready to go for 2024.”

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In just his second season, Daicos was front and centre in the Pies’ premiership run, finishing third in the Brownlow Medal despite missing their last three home-and-away matches with a knee injury.

He finished third in Norm Smith Medal voting after a 29-disposal, one-goal effort on the biggest stage.