Stokes will be next top-up player: Goddard

Stokes will be next top-up player: Goddard

New Essendon captain Brendon Goddard says he expects two-time Geelong premiership player Matthew Stokes to sign with the club as a top-up player for the 2016 AFL season.

Stokes will join Cats premiership teammate James Kelly, with both coming out of retirement to join the Bombers who had 12 players suspended for the entire season for their role in the club’s supplements saga.

“I think I’m not speaking out of turn here but I think he’s been in for a medical and ticked a lot of boxes,” Goddard told SEN.

“I expect him (to sign).”

The 31-year-old forward played 189 games with the Cats across 10 seasons, including the 2007 and 2011 premierships.

Delisted Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley and Kelly are the only top-up signings officially announced by Essendon.

Other players reportedly on the Bombers’ radar include former Hawthorn premiership player Jonathan Simpkin, delisted Richmond defender Matt Dea, former Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar and former Lion James Polkinghorne.

Goddard said the Bombers still had work to do in rebuilding their list ahead of the 2016 season.

“There’s still another three or four positions to be filled,” Goddard said.

“We’ve still got a little bit of work to do targeting a few guys.

“It’s obviously pretty thin pickings out there trying to find top-up players when anyone with a bit of talent would of or have been picked up already.”

Essendon can sign top-up players up until March 15 – less than two weeks before their round-one opening match against GWS.

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