Essendon have secured two of their banned AFL players, with Travis Colyer confirming he will return.
While rival clubs circle stars such as Cale Hooker, Colyer has joined Heath Hocking in committing to the Bombers when his doping ban ends.
The Bombers announced on Wednesday night that Colyer would be at the club until the end of 2019.
Colyer and Hocking are among 12 Essendon players, including captain Jobe Watson and fellow star midfielder Dyson Heppell, who are banned for this season.
“It’s a wonderful result,” coach John Worsfold told AFL360.
“Trav has been pretty rocked by everything, but he’s rebuilding his confidence to say ‘I want to be a part of this’.
“It is very significant for us.”
Essendon remain confident all 12 will be at the club next season, even though players such as Hooker are fielding massive offers from rivals.
Worsfold says he wants the players to re-commit because of their own motivation, not because teammates have.
The coach says he keeps in touch with the banned players to let them know how the team is progressing.
“I’m not relying on one player to sign, to entice the others to sign,” he said.
“I want them all to sign in their own right, because they want to and they want to be at Essendon next year.
“I’m really confident in the program we’re putting forward.
“The guys who want to be part of it next year will be part of something they’ll enjoy and they’ll feel like we’re making big inroads and becoming a powerful team.”
Colyer said in a club statement that he decided to return because he wanted success.
“We’re in a position where we have such an exciting list, I can see the improvement in the young players and that success isn’t too far away,” he said.
“This contract will take me to 10 years at Essendon.
“The club means so much to me and is such an important part of my life.”
Meanwhile, Worsfold is bullish about Essendon’s chances in the Anzac Day blockbuster against Collingwood.
The makeshift Bombers are coming off a loss to Geelong where they pushed the Cats until the last quarter.
Essendon’s encouraging start to the year and the Magpies’ poor form means the match is suddenly much more of a contest than it appeared at the beginning of the season.
Asked if he had a genuine belief that Essendon could win on Monday, Worsfold said: “absolutely – they deserve to have that belief, because of the hard work they’re putting in.
“They were disappointed they couldn’t run the game out (last weekend) and, at least if not win, then be right there at the end.
“So we’re aiming to be better than that again.
“We’re looking for a win.”