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'It feels like family'

Simon Conway  September 9, 2017 11:29 PM

BTV: EF | Jobe Watson post-game We caught up with the retiring champ after the game.

Jobe Watson’s AFL career has come to an end after the Bombers bowed out of the finals race at the hands of an in form Sydney.

The Bombers champion picked up 20 disposals (ten contested) and five clearances in his last match.

“We’re really disappointed that the season ended like this and obviously it’s the last game for me,” Watson said.

“I’ve really enjoyed my career and would have loved to have played in another winning final but the Swans were just too good a side for us tonight.

“I think there will be a lot of learning the group will take out of it and hopefully it helps build (on) a really strong foundation that the Club has already got and these guys learn what a really good team looks like and what we need to do to become one.”

Watson’s retirement brings an end to an Essendon family dynasty that stretches back to 1977 when his father, Tim, made his debut for the Bombers.

The father and son combination captained the Club, played in 527 games and won seven best and fairests.

“It’s an emotional thing when you end a career because it influences and impacts so many people around you that you care about,” Watson said.

“They’ve (family) enjoyed me playing, much like they did with Dad so it has been really special for the family as a whole to have two generations play at the one Football Club.”

The Bombers will now look to an emerging group of young players to take on greater leadership roles.

The Club had three players named in the All Australian side this month, including the 23 year old Joe Daniher and 21 year old Zach Merrett.

The pair finished in the top two in last season’s Crichton Medal.

The Bombers also toasted their second Rising Star winner when Andrew McGrath followed in Dyson Heppell’s footsteps by taking out the award.

“There are five or six players who are not only highly talented but great people as well and understand the requirements to become elite in the game and they’re all in the same age bracket,” Watson said.

“When you get those guys growing together, they’ll set the culture and continue to challenge the guys underneath and above them.

“It’s rare and it’s really exciting that you’ve got a group of those guys all within three or four years and they’re all going to come through together.”

Watson ends his Essendon career with 220 games to his name.

At his best he was one of the leading players in the competition and he was widely revered for his leadership throughout a six year reign as Essendon Captain.

He leaves with the respect of teammates, opponents and fans.

The support of the Bombers faithful is something he cherished.

“I’d just like to say thank you,” he said.

“Coming out tonight it almost sounded like an Essendon home game.

“Our fans have been incredibly loyal, they’ve showed an enormous amount of love for me and my family.

“I was thinking about as I was driving to the game today – about what the Club actually means to me.

“It feels like family to me.

“That’s made because of not only the people who volunteer and work at the Football Club but because of the supporters and what the Club means to its supporters and how loyal they are. 

“I’ve always felt that and I’ve always felt loved by them.

“That's real special for me.”