Newly-minted Bombers’ best and fairest winner Jordan Ridley believes simplifying facets of his game helped create consistent performances during his breakout 2020 season.
The 21-year-old defender, who was named in the initial Virgin Australia All Australian squad following his historic Crichton Medal victory, pin-pointed reflecting on his last few seasons as a cornerstone reason for blossoming into one of the club’s most reliable players this year.
Having played only nine games in his first three years in the red and black, Ridley deeply reflected on why he wasn’t performing at a level which was required to become a consistent member of the Bombers’ back six.
Upon his contemplation, the versatile defender came to the conclusion that he was overanalysing his game style.
“I definitely found 2019 to be a frustrating year individually,” Ridley told 1116 SEN.
“I was pretty keen to sit down at the end of the year and reflect on what went wrong for me and how I could really change things, so it doesn’t happen again.
“I found firstly that I was really just overthinking what I was doing out there and it was probably leading to lacking a bit of confidence.
“I sort of just tried to simple things up and it definitely helped me a lot more.”
Having already acknowledged fellow defender and leadership group member Michael Hurley as a key influence to his improvement, Ridley also recognised the work of the club’s coaching staff in helping him achieve individual success.
Impressed by the level of collaboration the coaches have with each other, Ridley believes the club is well placed to attack the 2021 season with incoming senior coach Ben Rutten.
“I think the coaches did an unreal job in the way they communicated with each other… I’ve really enjoyed seeing the way they’ve gone about it,” Ridley said.
“James Kelly going through the backs has helped me a lot with my confidence this year and helped me take my game forward this year.
“I think Truck has been lucky enough to have a year where he’s had a lot to do with how the team operates and learn from someone like 'Woosh' (John Worsfold) who’s been around footy a long time.
“I think that’ll definitely help him going forward.”
The question all Bombers’ fans will want to know about Ridley, is whether the young back has put pen to paper to sign a new contract with the club.
When pressed on the topic, Ridley admitted nothing official has been confirmed yet.
However, his intentions for 2021 and beyond are very clear, saying “I see myself at Essendon for a while”, which is a wonderful sign that one of the club's most exciting talents is keen to keep donning the red and black.