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Buddha to enlighten VFL

BTV: VFL | Heath Hocking commits for 2018 We caught up with Heath Hocking to talk about his decision to play for Essendon's VFL team in 2018.

Veteran Bomber, Heath Hocking, says he is excited to play a mentoring role with the VFL side this season.

Hocking said his focus on returning to the senior side during 2017, meant his passion for educating young players took a back seat.

“I feel I probably didn’t give 100%, so that’s the exciting part, that I can actually give more and hopefully see more results, and I see that as being a real excitement for me going into pre-season and starting games.”

Hocking was delisted at the end of the 2017 season after 126 games at Essendon, but has returned to the club to play in the VFL, a decision he admitted took some time after receiving other offers.

“I looked at a few other teams and it just wouldn’t have been the same,” Hocking said.

“I’ve built so many strong relationships here that, for me, it was sort of a no-brainer in the end to stay here and continue my journey at Essendon.”

The tough midfielder had an outstanding season in the VFL this year, playing 16 games and claiming the R.A Freeman Medal as the side’s Best and Fairest.

Hocking also played two senior games in 2017 including a crucial role booting two goals in the Bombers’ final home and away match against Fremantle, and he was rewarded with Essendon’s Best Team Player award.

Returning to Essendon after spending time working as a labourer in the off-season, Hocking said it was great to see some of the new faces in the senior squad.

“It’s always good when you get new guys coming into the footy club,” he said.

“Being an old guy here I think there will be plenty I can learn off them.”

New Bomber Trent Mynott has been given Hocking’s old jumper number (39), and Hocking said he has already spoken to the budding inside-midfielder.

“I met Trent who is going to take the 39 and I just gave him some pearls of wisdom to look after the number, because it definitely serves you well if you look after it.”

Essendon VFL’s full squad returned to training on Monday in preparation for the 2018 season.