Essendon Football Club has today made further changes to its list following the conclusion of the Trade Period.
Ben Howlett and Craig Bird were advised that they will not be offered a new contract for the 2018 season.
Howlett played 124 games during his seven year career with the Bombers.
His fearless attack on the contest, determination and selfless playing style were trademarks of his game.
Senior Coach, John Worsfold, commended Howlett for helping drive the Club’s strong culture.
“Ben is an unbelievably strong character in terms of his leadership and team values,” Worsfold said.
“He is always focused on wanting to play his role for the team, to the best of his ability.
“There’s no doubt 2016 was tough on the players who had to watch from the sidelines, but the way Ben returned, performed and mentored his younger teammates is a credit to him and his family.
“The modern game is relentless and to start as a rookie and go onto play more than 100 games is an outstanding effort, and Ben leaves having made a huge contribution to the Essendon Football Club.
“Ben will always be welcome at Essendon, and on behalf of everyone at the Club we wish him and his young family all the very best for the future.”
Bird was traded to Essendon at the end of 2015, he played 137 games for Sydney and went on to play 20 games in the red and black.
Worsfold praised Bird for his efforts over the two years he was with the Bombers.
“Craig has been a pleasure to work with during his career at Essendon,” Worsfold said.
“His attitude, leadership and commitment to the success of the Club has been outstanding.
“Craig played a key role in 2016 through our midfield and helped us through a very tough year.
“On behalf of the Club, I would like to thank Craig and wish him all the best with his future endeavours.”
The Club has now made the following changes to its list;
Retired - Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton and James Kelly.
Delisted - Heath Hocking, Ben Howlett and Craig Bird.
Recruited - Jake Stringer, Adam Saad and Devon Smith.