Essendon Football Club is delighted to announce the re-signing of classy defender Jordan Ridley, who has extended his current contract for a further two years.
The new deal will see the 22-year-old remain at the NEC Hangar until at least the end of 2026, having only just signed a four-year extension in 2020.
After claiming a maiden Crichton Medal in his breakout season of 2020, the unassuming young defender finished fourth in this year’s count.
While he wasn’t able to defend his best and fairest title, Ridley has arguably been better in 2021, highlighted through his career-high game in round three where he collected 35 disposals and 10 marks in the Bombers’ 75-point win over St Kilda.
The composed and elegant defender is ranked seventh in the competition for effective disposals per games, 10th for rebound 50s and 14th for total intercepts.
Recruited from the Oakleigh Chargers with pick No.22 in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft, Ridley was named in the AFLPA’s 22under22 team in 2020 and ’21, and in his best and fairest year, he also fittingly took out the club’s Most Improved Player award.
Ridley said he was thrilled to remain with the Bombers long-term.
“I really love this footy club, so it was obviously a pretty easy decision to extend for another couple of years,” Ridley said.
“It was really enjoyable playing under ‘Truck’ (Ben Rutten) and ‘Gia’ (Daniel Giansiracusa) this season, and as a new young backline with the likes of Laverde, Redman, Hind, Stewart and Heppell, we’re building our chemistry that will only continue to grow with another pre-season under our belts.
“We’re all spurred on from that elimination final result in Launceston a few weeks ago, and that will sit with us over the pre-season, but we’re all so hungry to take this club forward to achieve success and I’m excited to be a part of that over the years to come.”
General manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro praised Ridley for his ‘team-first’ attitude.
“Jordan is not only a very loyal player, but he is a person of terrific character and is held in very high regard from not only his teammates, but his coaches and staff here at the club,” Dodoro said.
“He is an incredibly humble young man who just goes about his business to get the most out of himself and his teammates, and the composure and reliability he brings to our backline is beyond his years.
“There is no doubt Jordan is one of our key pillars, and a long-term player for our club who will be a key part of this young group moving forward in the years to come.”
Ridley’s re-signing follows those of Tom Cutler, Tom Hird, Cian McBride, Andrew Phillips, Matt Guelfi, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Kaine Baldwin, Jake Stringer, Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett, alongside Devon Smith, Will Snelling, Mason Redman, Harrison Jones, Brayden Ham, Nick Bryan and Alec Waterman this season.
This news is brought to you by Orchard HRO, the club's official recruitment and list management partner.