Former Essendon star Brent Stanton will return to the club as its VFL coach in 2022.
The 35-year-old re-joins the club he played 255 games for after spending four seasons at Carlton in various coaching roles.
Following a 13-season career at the Bombers, where he currently sits 13th for most games played, Stanton arrived at the Blues as a development coach at the end of the 2017 season.
He then rapidly rose through the ranks to become an assistant coach, having also overseen Carlton’s midfield and ball transition in recent seasons.
Stanton is a highly regarded figure within the NEC Hangar, having earned seven top-five placings in the Crichton Medal count during his career, which included three third-places and one runner-up.
General manager of football Josh Mahoney said Stanton’s appointment was an important step for the club as it looks to put more resources into its VFL program.
“Our VFL program plays a very important role in the development of our AFL-listed players, as well as an avenue for VFL-listed players to maximise their potential. We’re delighted to have Brent return to the NEC Hangar as the VFL senior coach,” Mahoney said.
“He’s a much-loved figure here at Essendon after forging a wonderful career as a player.
“This appointment benefits both the club and Brent. This additional resource allows experienced coach Leigh Tudor to focus entirely on the development of our AFL players, as well as being an important next step in Brent’s coaching career to coach his own team.
“We look forward to him getting familiar with our game style and having a positive impact on our VFL program.”
Stanton said he was thrilled to return home.
“I’m really excited by the opportunity to coach the Bombers’ VFL side,” Stanton said.
“I have so much admiration for this club which I called home for the whole of my playing career.
“It’s clear to see the talent unearthed at the club this year, and I’m determined to facilitate an environment which helps our younger and developing players grow in our VFL program to ensure they’re ready to impact at AFL level.”