Former West Coast player Xavier O’Neill has signed with Essendon’s VFL side on a two-year deal.
O’Neill’s signing follows Blake Caracella’s recent appointment as VFL Senior Coach.
The midfielder said he was thrilled to join Essendon.
“I’m super excited to join Essendon, a very old and established club with lots of history,” O’Neill said.
“Having connections with Matt Rosa and Craig Vozzo from my time at West Coast also reassured me that the club is in good hands and a great place for me to work towards getting redrafted.
“I’m eager to earn a spot back on an AFL list and wanted to move home to Victoria, and I thought that Essendon would be a great fit to play VFL.”
Standing at 186cm, O’Neill is a powerful midfielder with physical attributes that allow him to flourish both as an inside and outside player.
Hailing from Blackburn and the Oakleigh Chargers, O’Neill stood out at club level through his under 18’s season in 2018, eventually entering the draft combine that year.
Taken by the Eagles with the 28th pick in the 2018 national draft, O’Neill made his AFL debut in round 13 of the 2020 season, playing 39 games across his five seasons with the club.
O’Neill recorded a career-high 24 disposals in the Eagles’ 13-point win win over Collingwood in round four of the 2022 season and went on to play a career-high 15 games in the 2023 season.
The 23-year-old will bring valuable AFL experience to the Bombers’ youthful VFL list in 2024.