The anticipated top-up of Essendon that involved engaging the services of rebounding defender Matt Dea has happened.
Dea did well last season with Richmond, accounting for an average of 20 disposals and six marks per game after getting on the ground 15 times, the most of his career.
Dea is taking on a monumental challenge in accepting the offer to play for the Dons. Essendon lost 12 players as a result of the 2012 drug scandal. Dea is the sixth to agree to terms with the team. He earned Richmond’s best and fairest last season, but had seen limited time with the seniors in his prior five seasons.
Others to join the squad are Ryan Crowley, Jonathan Simpkin and James Polkinghorne. Matthew Stokes is expected to come to an agreement soon.
Crowley is just coming off a 12-month doping suspension. He was the Docker’s best and fairest in 2012 and was part of the premiership Dockers team of 2013.
Another veteran, James Kelly, brings the experience of 273 games in the AFL, combined with three premierships and an all-Australian jersey. Geelong delisted him and the move to Essendon was the only option other than retirement, as no other teams seemed interested.