In their efforts to top-up after 12 current players were suspended for the season for using a banned PED in 2012, the Essendon Football Club has added Richmond’s delisted defensive player Matt Dea.
Richmond severed ties with Dea last October. He joins James Kelly, the hero interchange player from the Geelong Cat’s 2011 premiership, along with 12-year Freemantle veteran midfielder Ryan Crowley.
The availability of Dea is somewhat surprising given than he was the Tigers’ best and fairest in 2015. It is speculated that he will assume the role made vacant by the loss of Michael Hibberd.
Getting Dea on their list means that the Bombers will have to seek special permission to sign Sam Dunnell or Ayce Cordy, since part of the AFL’s penalty imposed on the team is the stipulation that they can only poach one player from state league clubs.
It is thought that Dea and Kelly, who has three premierships to his credit, will add some stability. Dea is just 24, so the thinking behind the Tigers’ move is hard to fathom beyond the fact that he had trouble staying on the ground, playing only 31 games with Richmond in five seasons. In Kelly’s case, Essendon obviously hopes he has enough left in him to contribute somewhere near the level of which he is demonstrably capable.