Meantime, the Bombers have parted ways with Irving Mosquito, who made an electrifying debut in last year’s Dreamtime match but ruptured his ACL in just his fourth AFL game.
Goalsneak Ned Cahill and small defender Lachie Johnson, the son of three-time Brisbane premiership player Chris Johnson, have also been told their contracts will not be renewed.
Mosquito, picked at No.38 in the 2018 draft, had been granted a leave of absence to return to his hometown of Halls Creek during his rehabilitation.
Essendon said in a statement that the 21-year-old had been supported by the club and his management company as he struggled to meet the demands of AFL football, and wanted to be with his family and community elders.
It was in his best interests, the Bombers said, to terminate his contract.
“On behalf of everyone at Essendon, we sincerely thank Irving for his contribution to our club over the past three years,” Mahoney said.
“Since he arrived at the club at the end of 2018, we have closely supported Irving to settle into Melbourne whilst balancing and maintaining a strong connection to his community back in Halls Creek.
“After Irving sustained the ACL injury in September last year, he was open with us about his lack of motivation and desire to play at an AFL level again, and we had granted him time away from the club to return home to Halls Creek to best support him to make an informed decision on his AFL career moving forward.
“While this was not an easy decision for Irving, he feels it will be best for him to return to Halls Creek to start the next chapter of his life, and we understand that. We thank Irving for his time in the red and black, and we wish him the very best for whatever lies ahead.”
Mosquito expressed gratitude to the Bombers. “It was a pretty tough decision to come to, and I had to weigh up whether I could commit to a full 12-month recovery program to get my knee right. In the end, I realised I didn’t have the passion that was required to get back, so it’s the right time to consider life away from football,” he said.
“The club has been great with their support of me and my family, I can’t thank them enough.
“I will miss my teammates and being at the club every day. I wish the boys well for next season, I’ll always love this club.”
Cahill played six games for the Bombers in his two seasons, while Johnson was unable to break through for a debut after coming to the club through its Next Generation Academy. He, too, sustained an ACL injury but could get back and play 10 VFL games this season.