Suspended Essendon ruckman Tom Bellchambers has recommitted to the Bombers, signing a one-year contract extension that ties him to the club until the end of the 2018 AFL season.
Bellchambers, whose current contract runs through next season, is one of 12 Essendon players serving anti-doping suspensions arising from the club’s ill-fated 2012 supplements program.
“The time away from the football club has allowed me to freshen up physically and mentally,” Bellchambers said.
“Missing this season and a big chunk of 2015 through injury makes me want come back fitter and stronger in 2017.
“I really appreciate all that Essendon has done for me over my career. They gave me the chance to pursue my dream of playing AFL and I’m looking forward to repaying the faith they’ve shown in me.”
Bellchambers joins fellow suspended players Cale Hooker, Travis Colyer, David Myers, Heath Hocking and Dyson Heppell, who have announced they will return to the club in 2017.
That leaves star defender Michael Hurley, skipper Jobe Watson, Michael Hibberd, Ben Howlett, Brent Stanton and Tayte Pears as yet to confirm their intentions after their bans end later in 2016.
Essendon on Friday also signed promising youngster Kyle Langford to a new two-year deal.
“Kyle is working extremely hard on improving his game. He’s an unbelievable competitor and we’re really pleased he wants to be a part of our football club,” coach John Worsfold said.
“We’ve taken Kyle out of his comfort zones and played him in a variety of roles this season. He’s embraced that challenge and we believe with his attitude, talent and drive.
“He’s going to play a big role in the future of this football team.”