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“He’s not a star”: Cornes stunned by Essendon’s call to hand defender long-term extension


Kane Cornes was in disbelief after learning of Jordan Ridley’s new Essendon contract extension.

The 25-year-old defender was already signed until the end of the 2026 season but is now contracted until 2029 after adding a further three years to his deal.

While Ridley is no doubt one of Essendon’s better players having won a best and fairest in 2020, Cornes was shocked by the Bombers’ decision to double down on the contract he was already signed to.

Cornes simply thinks that Essendon should have waited until Ridley’s current contract was nearing its end before deciding their next course of action with the defender.

“Can I just launch my own little Vol-Kaneo? I've read the most ridiculous press release from the Bombers,” Cornes said on SEN Sportsday.

“The headline is ‘Ridley a Don until 2029’. I think, ‘Ok, they’ve signed up Jordan Ridley the star defender who extends his contract for three more years’. I was like, ‘Ok, he must have been coming out of contract this year and they've signed him for three more’.

“But then I thought, ‘That doesn't add up, 2029?’. So, I read it and it said that ‘Defender Jordan Ridley has secured his future with the Bombers, putting pen to paper on a three-year contract extension until the end of 2029. Ridley was already signed to the club until the end of 2026’.

“He had three years to go on a contract and some bright spark at Essendon is going, ‘Hang on, three is not enough, let’s extend him for three more’.

“I think, ‘Jeez Jordan Ridley, he’s a nice player (but not that good)’. I go and look at his accolades, he won a best and fairest in 2020 and was an All-Australian nominee that year.”

Although Cornes isn’t a fan of long-term deals, he has been willing to make exceptions for the likes of Nick Daicos, Connor Rozee and Errol Gulden – when he signs – among others who he feels are worth those deals.

Even though he likes Ridley as a player, he doesn’t think he’s a big enough name to warrant such a deal and laid out some of the risks that are now associated with having him tied down for such a long period.

“He’s not a star of the competition. They had him signed for three more years,” Cornes said.

“In a week where Andrew Brayshaw is going to be paid out five years of a contract, one year into it.

“We've seen Clayton Oliver go off the rails. I'm not suggesting Jordan Ridley is going to go off the rails in that way, but he did rip his quad pretty badly and missed the last five or six games of last season.

“He's 25 and he's not a star of the competition. He's not someone you need to sign up for three extra years after you've already got three.

“What are we doing with contracts? I don't understand.

“Would you not assess it in two more seasons and then see where he's at?”

Ridley now sits alongside off-season recruit Ben McKay with the Bombers who hold the longest contracts. Both of those deals finish at the end of the 2029 season.

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