Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro won’t buy into the hype around the Bombers’ busy AFL trade period.
But he can’t help but get excited by the prospect of how four quality recruits could help Essendon move up the ladder.
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The Bombers landed Port Adelaide dasher Xavier Duursma in the final 30 seconds of the trade period on Thursday night, in a deal that sent Brandon Zerk-Thatcher to the Power.
They also added three free agents – St Kilda forward Jade Gresham and North Melbourne key defender Ben McKay and ruckman Todd Goldstein, while knocking back St Kilda’s interest in Dylan Shiel.
When asked just how high Essendon could climb in 2024, Dodoro said: “That’s a gotcha question.
Xavier Duursma Credit: Getty Images
“I think we’re going to improve. We made a step forward this year.
“I think people forget that we were playing some really good footy until the back half of the year where no-one talks about 16 injuries going into the last game.
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“We get our injured players back. We get a lot of growth with our young players – Harry Jones and (Zach) Reid and (Archie) Perkins and all these kids that we’ve drafted recently.
“Add these guys (and) I think that we’re in pretty good shape moving forward.”
Former early draft pick Duursma has played 73 games, but battled with form and injury more recently.
“When he burst on the scene we all saw what an exciting little player he was and the last couple of years he’s probably had a couple of injuries that have held him back,” Dodoro said.
“We did a medical on him and we see that he’s going to be a very good player for us for a number of years.
“He’ll play a role that Brad’s got earmarked for him and he’s gonna really help us. He’ll give us a different dimension to our midfield.”
Dodoro was pretty happy with his final trade period as the Bombers top dog. Credit: AFL Photos via Getty Images
Dodoro admitted he’d “love” to land Duursma’s younger brother Zane in this year’s draft, but he is likely to be selected before Essendon’s pick No.9.
St Kilda spoke to Shiel but Dodoro insisted he was “never gonna leave”.
“I don’t know what will happen in 12 months’ time,” he said.
“But I know that Dylan is a quality person, highly respected at our club and if he gets over a few little niggling injuries I see no reason why he can’t have a great year next year.”
Dodoro is stepping back from his role with former Eagle Matt Rosa joining Essendon.
But he insisted he wasn’t done yet.
“I think I’ll be around for a little longer,” he said.
“How could you not have me around? It wouldn’t be the same.”
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