In the thick of his eighth pre-season with the Bombers, Jordan Ridley’s aware of the work required to keep taking the next steps.

The 25-year-old is among a core contingent of young Bombers leading the side’s development under Senior Coach Brad Scott through a rigorous pre-season.

While the pre-season slog never gets any easier, Ridley has been impressed by the group’s willingness to take on the challenge and stay grounded.

“I wouldn’t say any pre-season I’ve done thus far has been easy, but this one’s been pretty hard. The group have come in with a great attitude and are really enjoying it, it’s been a lot of fun,” Ridley said.

“It’s always hard to judge (expectations) at this point of the year before we’ve gotten into games. There’s definitely an opportunity for us to get it clicking but we’ve got to go and take it, it won’t just come to us.”

Ridley has been a beacon of consistency since establishing his place in the Bombers’ line-up through a breakout 2020 season, utilised both as an interceptor and man-on-man defender.

His untimely omission through injury in the back end of the 2023 season was a tough blow for the Dons, but with a healthy run at pre-season and the arrival of key defender Ben McKay via free agency, Ridley is enticed by the emerging depth of the side’s defence.


“It’s a really exciting period for the defensive group. Ben (McKay) is obviously very capable and has shown that he can play at a really high level, he’ll bring some valuable experience for us and be a key pillar within that back six,” Ridley said.

“There’ll be potential for me (to roam in defence), but there will certainly still be times where I have to take on a bigger body anyway. I don’t think my role will change a heap, but the most important thing is I’m looking forward to playing my part in this group.”

An important point for the Bombers’ backs has been the line coaching of Ben Jacobs, who along with new faces such as David Rath have been firm in laying foundations for the group to build on.

With competitive gameplay just six weeks away, Ridley and the Bombers have their sights set on the challenges ahead.


“’Benny’ Jacobs has been super for us, he has a really good grasp on the way that we want to play and the way he portrays his messages is really clear. I’ve loved working with him and going forward it’ll be great to keep building that chemistry with backs playing under him,” Ridley said.

“The main messaging post-Christmas was just to prepare ourselves in a way that allowed us to hit the ground running straight away, we didn’t want to lose any time or work on areas that weren’t necessary. We want to be ready for when we hit match play and the footy-specific stuff.”