Essendon VFL has named Nick O’Brien Captain for the 2017 season.
O’Brien played 14 senior games with the Bombers between 2012 and 2015.
After playing in South Australia last year, he decided to return home to Victoria and signed on with the Essendon VFL side.
The squad assessed each player across a range of criteria with O’Brien emerging as the standout.
“It is a big honour to be voted by your peers and to have the coaches also give you the tick to be Captain, so I’m very honoured and I’ve got some good support which is good,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien finished runner-up in the Magarey Medal in his one season with Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL.
“I played in a Grand Final over there at a fantastic Club, but Essendon always had a really special spot for me,” O’Brien said.
“They were the Club that gave me a chance to play AFL football and if there is any way I can give back and help some younger guys here [I’ll take it].”
The 23 year old hasn’t given up on a return to the AFL and knows the best way to attract the attention of recruiters is to be part of a successful side.
“A by-product of winning games is potentially getting drafted so for me it’s about being part of success,” he said.
“I played in a Preliminary Final here back in 2015, then the boys here played in the semi final last year so I really want to be part of some success.”
O’Brien is highly regarded within the VFL program for his communication skills and dedication to training.
Coach Paul Corrigan said O’Brien would play an important role uniting the VFL squad with their AFL teammates.
“Nobby has been part of this Club previously as a player for a number of years and during that time he really stood out – even as a younger player – with his leadership qualities,” he said.
“He’ll be a really good fit for us when we’ve got the blend of AFL guys coming back, he’ll fill the void and make sure the connection between the VFL and the AFL is really smooth.”