Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce James Stewart and Jayden Laverde have extended their contracts for a further two years.

The new deals will see the duo don the sash until at least the end of 2020.

Recruited from GWS, Stewart has played 23 games in the red and black, and said he was looking forward to finishing off the year strongly in the Bombers VFL finals campaign.

“I’m excited to spend the next two years at Essendon. I believe this side is on the cusp of something special and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together as a team,” Stewart said.

“At the moment my focus is on the next couple of weeks and hopefully having some success with the VFL squad.

“I have enjoyed establishing a strong connection to this playing group and football club at large.

“This year hasn’t been ideal for me but I know that this journey and upcoming pre-season will set the foundation for 2019 and beyond.”

Laverde has played 30 games for the Bombers since being drafted with pick 20 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft.  

Laverde said he was thrilled to extend his time at The Hangar.

“The club has a bright future ahead and I’m looking forward to being a consistent contributor to the side over the next two years,” Laverde said.

“The team finished off the year strongly and we can all see the positive direction we are heading in. 

“Over the next two years I want to develop my game and continue to build on the time I spend in the midfield.

“Right now, I can’t wait to continue with VFL finals and then plan to hit the ground running in the pre-season and advance my game as much as possible.”

Senior Coach, John Worsfold, said he believed both players would make valuable contributions to the team in 2019 and beyond.

“Since arriving at the Club, James has bought into the values that the Essendon Football Club represent. He has a great attitude and a desire to really want to be a good AFL player,” Worsfold said.

“James is coming into his peak years as a player and we know he will continue to work hard.

“He showed through his performances in his first two seasons that he has the potential to be a very good performer at AFL level.  

“We are excited to see what he can achieve over the next two years.

“Jayden had a standout game in our round 23 match against Port Adelaide. We feel he is heading in the right direction to become a successful forward for our side, while he is continuing to add some midfield time to add versatility.

“If Jayden can find continuity with his body, we believe 2019 will be a break out year for the 22-year-old.”

To view James Stewart’s official player profile, click here.

To vie Jayden Laverde’s official player profile, click here.