Latest on Bombers trio’s future
ESSENDON coach Ben Rutten remains “hopeful and confident” that several of the club’s out of contract stars will put pen to paper in the coming weeks.
Midfield duo Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett are currently unsigned beyond this year, while forward Jake Stringer is also out of contract.
Rutten said he was rapt to see Stringer return from injury in Essendon’s big win over West Coast last week, saying he was “certainly confident” the club was progressing quickly enough to ensure three of their most important players wanted to say.
“(Jake Stringer) is a really valuable player for us,” he said on Sportsday.
“He knows how much we love him and how important he is for us, we have a few guys that are out of contract and we’re working through at the moment.
“We’re really hopeful and confident that we’ll be able to retain all those guys and Jake (Stringer) is one of those at the moment.
“We’re certainly confident we’re building something our players want to be part of.”
The Bombers are one of the on-field stories of the year so far, winning their last three games to sit just one win outside of the eight in a season where external expectations were low.
Rutten, who was part of the coaching transition last year with John Worsfold, said the disruption was ultimately “detrimental” for Essendon, lauding the opportunity in previous months for his new group to train together.
“The biggest thing that has been important for us as a group has been able to train and get these games together,” he said.
“We’re learning and evolving all the time, the biggest thing last year was the lack of continuity and training to be able to prepare was detrimental to our club and I’m sure others across the board.
“Being able to spend January training together, building some chemistry and being able to embed what we’re trying to play and just through circumstance, being able to give some opportunity to young guns has been great and none of them have let us down.”
– BY LAURENCE ROSEN/ SEN