Following a rapid rise in 2022, exciting ruck Sam Draper has penned a two-year contract extension.
The new deal will see the 24-year-old in the red and black until at least the end of 2025.
Draper played every game last season, averaging more than 24 hit outs and hitting the scoreboard 12 times, including his round 18 major that was named the 2022 rebel Goal of the Year.
Born in South Australia but spending six years of his childhood in Brede, England, Draper didn’t pick up an Australian football until the start of 2016 when he switched from soccer.
The 205cm ruck quickly caught the attention of recruiters and nine months later was selected by Essendon with their first pick in the 2017 rookie draft.
Since making his debut in round nine of the 2020 season, Draper has played 43 games, quickly becoming a key part of the Bombers’ midfield.
Draper said he was thrilled to remain at the club for a further two years.
“I absolutely love this footy club and I’m really excited for this next chapter at the Bombers under Brad (Scott),” Draper said.
“I’m committed and willing to do everything I can to take this great club back to where it needs to be. My heart is with Essendon and I can't imagine myself anywhere else.
“We have a strong pre-season ahead and I look forward to working hard alongside my teammates to be the best we can be.”
General Manager of List and Recruiting Adrian Dodoro said the club was excited by Draper’s potential.
“Sam has developed enormously since arriving at the club in 2017 and has become a crucial player for the future of our club,” Dodoro said.
“He is a popular member of our playing group with his infectious energy being very influential throughout the club.
“We look forward to seeing Sam continue to refine his craft and become a dominant force throughout the competition.”