Zach Merrett will serve as Essendon Captain for a second consecutive year in 2024.

First taking the reins as the club’s 41st skipper in its history ahead of the 2023 season, Merrett enjoyed a stellar first campaign at the helm, averaging 29 disposals per game leading the side through the midfield.

The 28-year-old enters his 11th season with the club as one of its most experienced performers and is grateful and excited to continue as Captain.

With the Bombers building into another year under Senior Coach Brad Scott, Merrett wants to do the club faithful proud from his position as skipper.


“It’s not lost on me the privilege to lead the Essendon Football Club on and off the field and it’s something I’m very grateful for,” Merrett said.

“With Brad Scott having his influence on the club through his first full off-season, all players feel well placed to improve this season. There was a great recruitment drive to strengthen the playing group, we’ve enhanced our off-field team to support our players and coaches and I think these changes will have a great impact on how we play this year.

“I’m not usually one for rhetoric or puffery and I hope we can play a season that members and fans of the club can be proud to watch and support, as our members and fans are why we exist as a footy club.

“We’re all counting down the days for Round 1 and can’t wait to represent all Essendon people in 2024.”

Consistent defender Andrew McGrath will also once again serve as the Dons’ Vice-Captain this season.


The Bombers’ first ever No.1 national draft pick back in 2016, McGrath’s been a staple of the side’s lineup since his debut in 2017 and has grown into an integral leader within the current squad, first serving as joint Vice-Captain in 2021.

Utilised in a defensive role during the 2023 season, McGrath still averaged 23 disposals and 415 metres gained per game en route to a fourth-place finish in the Crichton Medal.

McGrath is keen for the Dons to channel their excitement into practice this season and continue representing the club as a leader alongside Merrett.

“It’s an honour to be able to support Zach in leading this club each and every day. Regardless of title, the role of leaders within our club is to make those around us better,” McGrath said.

“The whole playing group wants the same thing. We’re very aligned to becoming a better team than we were last year, as is the goal every pre-season, but we’ve put certain things in place to make that a reality now.

“I feel like our training level’s lifting, our stuff away from the football club’s lifting, our whole water level’s rising together. We want to show it on the field now, but we’re optimistic about what we can do.”

The Bombers officially open their 2024 campaign against Hawthorn on Saturday, March 16 at the MCG.