Hooker is a ‘Don AFL deal

Cale Hooker’s re-signing is a massive boost for Essendon as the AFL club rallies from its supplements debacle.

It was revealed on Tuesday that the All-Australian defender and club’s reigning best-and-fairest champion had signed a five-year deal.

The generous contract means the 27-year-old will be a Bomber for life.

But Hooker probably would have earned more had he taken the free agency option that was looming at the end of this season.

Essendon coach John Worsfold admitted relief about Hooker’s retention, given his free agency was looming.

“There are always some concerns,” he said.

Hooker is among 12 Bombers who are sidelined this year because of the doping bans that stemmed from the supplements saga.

He is the third of the banned players to commit to the club, following Heath Hocking and Travis Colyer.

Fellow key position player Michael Hurley reportedly is also close to re-signing.

Hooker’s signature is doubly-significant as he is one of Essendon’s best players and speculation was hottest about whether the defender would stay.

His retention is a huge win for the Bombers’ administration.

“It’s great news – a strong reflection on Cale’s personal character and loyalty, but also obviously a strong reflection on his belief in the club and where we are aiming to get ourselves back to,” Worsfold said.

“It’s awesome – it was very clear we wanted him to be at the footy club.

“As we’ve said we’d love to have all 12 back … next year.”

The news is also timely, given their 69-point Anzac Day loss two days ago highlighted the challenges facing the makeshift team for the rest of this season.

But Worsfold said he wants the team to bounce back from the Collingwood loss regardless of re-signing news.

“Everyone is rapt – if I can keep this group up, where we don’t need re-signings to say our morale’s up, that’s my aim,” he said.

“So these things are just a bonus and great news for us all.

“But we’re going to be positive and keep our morale up, regardless.”

Worsfold added that he did not see Hooker’s news as something that would have an impact on the nine players yet to re-commit.

“It’s all in their own time, they’re all different,” he said.

“They’re all in different situations, so there’s no expectations.”

“Again, I say I want all players to sign because they want to be part of what the club is working back to.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!