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Defender bounces back

BTV: Lucas' 2017 Season Review Scott Lucas reviews our Elimination Final against Sydney, as well as the 2017 season as a whole.

Essendon champion Scott Lucas says Martin Gleeson was one of the Bombers most improved players throughout 2017.

The defender had barely missed a match throughout the last two seasons but took his game to a new level this year.

The 23 year old was in and out of the side at the start of the season, but he returned in round 11 and remained for the rest of the season.

Throughout those 13 straight matches Gleeson averaged 17 disposals, seven marks, three rebounds from the defensive 50.

He also picked up 25 disposals, took seven marks and had four rebounds from the defensive 50 in the Elimination Final against Sydney.

“He was a player that was in and out of the team early on but then settled in and I thought he was their best player on Saturday in that final,” Lucas said.

“His growth, his intercept work, his kicking and decision making were first class.

“With James Kelly retiring that becomes an even more important role – to find someone such as him to settle in there.”

Lucas said Kyle Langford and Aaron Francis shape as players that could enjoy breakout seasons during 2018.

Langford played six senior games this year to take his career tally to 31.

He averaged 23 disposals, seven tackles, six marks and kicked 13 goals in his 14 games at VFL level.

“I think Langford can go through that midfield and be one of those players that can complement the current midfield group and help out there,” Lucas said. 

“And also Aaron Francis – a highly talented player that John has spoken about several times throughout the year as needing to become aware of all that encompasses being a great player in terms of preparation, fitness and so forth.

“If he can get that right I think he’s got a huge role to play next year.”