It’s been a challenging year for Essendon, but reigning Crichton Medal winner Jordan Ridley has provided Bombers fans with some good news, publicly committing to the club for the long term.
The 21-year-old is one of the AFL’s most improved players and capped off a breakout year by winning the club’s best and fairest award on Sunday night, ahead of midfielder Zach Merrett and defender Adam Saad.
The intercept defender took 110 marks during the home and away season, the third-most of any player in the competition.
Despite his rapid rise, Ridley still remains uncontracted next season, but said a new deal wasn’t far away and pledged his commitment to the Bombers for the foreseeable future.
“I haven’t signed just yet and am working through the final details so (signing a new contract) shouldn’t be too far away,” he said on SEN’s Bob and Andy.
“I definitely see myself at Essendon for a while.”
Ridley was taken by Essendon with pick 22 in the 2016 National Draft, but made a slow start to life at AFL level, only playing nine games in his first two seasons.
He said the individual disappointment of last year’s campaign – where he played six times - took a toll on him personally and admitted he spent the off-season reflecting on what went wrong.
“I found 2019 to be a pretty frustrating year individually,” he said.
“I was pretty keen to sit down at the end of the year and reflect on what went wrong for me and how I could change it so it didn’t happen again.
“I’ve found that I was really overthinking what I was doing out there and it was leading to lacking a bit of confidence so I tried to free myself and play on instinct a bit more.
“That definitely help me and my confidence as well.”