For someone who played just four senior games in 2019, there’s just so much to say about Will Snelling.

Arriving at The Hangar in late May to cover for the loss of Devon Smith to injury, the Bombers’ first ever mid-season rookie recruit was determined to make the most of his second crack in the big league.

And he didn’t waste any time doing it.

Taking his red-hot SANFL form into the VFL, the 22-year-old midfielder settled in seamlessly with VFL coach Dan Jordan’s side, averaging 26.2 disposals and 7.7 tackles from six games.

His form was simply irresistible, earning him a senior call-up in the round 18 win over the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

In what marked his second AFL game – a long 1056 days after his debut with Port Adelaide – Snelling was a man on a mission in his home state, recording 15 disposals, a goal and three tackles, while succeeding in a shutdown role on star Crows defender Rory Laird.

Two consecutive senior games followed, before foot soreness halted his momentum.

But in a measure of the impact he made in such a short time, Snelling was recalled for his first final, booting two majors in the elimination final loss to West Coast. 


Games: 4

Goals: 5

Average disposals: 16.5

Average marks: 5.7 

Average tackles: 3.2

Disposal efficiency: 78.8%


On a tough afternoon for the Bombers, Snelling had a point to prove against his old side in round 20.

One of Essendon's best in the 59-point loss to Port Adelaide, the tough onballer led his teammates for goals (two) and contested possessions (13), also tallying 21 disposals, five tackles and six score involvements.

It was a commendable effort from Snelling, filling the void in midfield left by skipper Dyson Heppell's absence.


"Great story, terrific moment."

Channel 7 commentator Bruce McAvaney took the words right out of our mouths when Snelling kicked his first major as a Bomber.

Finding space inside 50 to get on the end of Aaron Francis' short pass, Snelling coolly converted in the early stages of the second term against the Crows, marking his Essendon debut in style.


Having arrived on a short-term deal as a mid-season recruit, Snelling's contract expired at season's end.

He faces a wait to see if he's retained in 2020, but certainly hasn't done his chances any harm.