Jobe Watson has a fortnight to decide his AFL future, with Essendon coach John Worsfold confident he will make the call before that deadline.
Worsfold has met with Watson since the star midfielder returned to Melbourne last week from overseas.
Watson’s ban ends this week and he is the only player returning from the Essendon supplements suspensions whose AFL fate is unclear.
While the Bombers are keen to support Watson, Worsfold said they cannot wait forever.
“I would expect that timeline is certainly within a fortnight – we’d have to know for sure – but my guess is it would be before that,”‘ Worsfold told RSN927.
“The club has to keep moving.
“Jobe is a wonderful part of our list if he chooses to play on and a big part we have to replace if he chooses not to.”
Worsfold said there is a lot for Watson to weigh up, including the ongoing Swiss appeal, whether he keeps his 2012 Brownlow Medal and the issue of financial compensation over the supplements debacle.
But the Bombers coach pointed out that Watson had not contemplated his AFL future seriously until he returned from overseas.
“He went away to have a break,” Worsfold said.
“He didn’t go away and sit there wondering ‘am I going to play on’?”
“It’s only really since he’s come back that he’s said ‘now I have to weigh all this up’.”
Certainly Watson is in good physical shape and Worsfold hopes he continues.
“If he waddled through the door I would be a little more concerned and maybe trying to convince him otherwise,” Worsfold said.
“It would be wonderful for the Essendon supporters – it would be wonderful for the game – to see one of our champions out there and finishing his career strongly.”
Worsfold said he has no idea about Watson’s AFL intentions.
“It is a great question – Jobe is ready to play on, if he chooses to,” he said.
‘He’s in a good space, he had a great time away.
“He’s enjoyed the year, for making the most of a bad situation.
“But it’s a lot to weigh up … he has to be absolutely, 100 per cent sure that he’s ready.”
Watson was Essendon’s captain before his suspension, with Brendon Goddard taking over this season.
Dyson Heppell has also said he feels ready to become Bombers skipper.
Worsfold said they would not decide their player leadership until well into the new year.