Dependable small forward Will Snelling has signed a two-year deal to tie him to Essendon until at least the end of 2023.

Drafted at pick No.7 in the 2019 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft from SANFL club West Adelaide, Snelling has since cemented himself as a mainstay in the Bombers’ forward line.

The 23-year-old had played 26 consecutive games since round four, 2020, until a thumb injury brought his streak to a halt in round 11.

Snelling has produced career-best form in 2021, averaging 16.9 disposals, 3.6 marks and 4.7 tackles per game.


One of the pressure forward’s best games of the year came in Essendon’s 75-point win over St Kilda in round three, where he registered 23 disposals, six marks, six tackles and two goals.

Snelling said he was delighted to remain at the NEC Hangar until 2023.

“I’m really grateful to the club for the faith they’ve shown in me,” Snelling said.

“The culture and environment that we’re building under ‘Truck’ (Ben Rutten) and Dyson (Heppell) is something that already feels pretty special so I’m rapt to be a part of that for at least the next couple of years. 

“With an emerging playing list, we’re still developing and our best football is ahead of us, and I’m really hungry to achieve success with this group.”

Will Snelling celebrates a goal in the Bombers' round 11 win over West Coast. (Photo: AFL Photos)

General manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro said Snelling’s re-signing was thoroughly deserved. 

“This extension is a fitting reward for Will who has seamlessly integrated into the club since he arrived in the 2019 mid-season draft,” Dodoro said.

“Will is a young man with a high character. He showcases our blue-collar approach week in and week out on the football field, and plays a very selfless role each week. 

“We look forward to seeing Will continue to grow in the role over the coming years and being a part of the red and black until at least the end of 2023.” 

Snelling's re-signing follows those of Zach Merrett, Devon Smith, Mason Redman, Harrison Jones, Brayden Ham, Nick Bryan and Alec Waterman in recent weeks.

This news is brought to you by Orchard HRO, the club's official recruitment and list management partner.