Ryan Crowley’s move to the Bombers will mark somewhat of a homecoming.
The 31 year old has spent the last 14 years in Perth plying his trade with Fremantle.
But before his AFL career began, Melbourne was home.
“I grew up in the area,” he said.
“I went to school in Essendon. I did athletics for Essendon and my family live just down the road so I’m pretty excited to get back.”
Crowley played in the TAC Cup with the Calder Cannons before joining Fremantle in the 2002 National Draft.
The Dockers selected Crowley with pick 55, a selection obtained from Essendon as part of a trade deal involving Adam McPhee.
He went on to become a key part of Fremantle’s rise up the ladder that culminated in the 2014 Grand Final.
Crowley played in 12 finals and won the 2012 Best and Fairest.
But a season long suspension in 2015 triggered the end of his Dockers career.
After serving his ban, he was delisted.
He was overlooked through the trade and draft periods, so signed on with Swan Districts in the WAFL.
Crowley was in the thick of pre-season training when the chance to resume his AFL career at the Bombers arose.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” he said.
“I didn’t hide the fact that I wanted to continue my AFL career at the end of last season.
“It didn’t happen at Fremantle but I couldn’t be more excited to be down at Essendon.
“You really miss that competitive nature, just getting ready for games and just that sick feeling you get in your guts two days out from a game knowing what’s coming.
“I just really missed it last year and can’t wait to get out there.
“It’s going to be such a thrill to pull on the red and black.”