ESSENDON sees enormous upside in Territory export Jake Long, re-signing the talented wingman for 2018 and elevating him to the club’s senior list.
The Bombers announced Long would join Jackson Merrett and Shaun McKernan in remaining on the club’s list for another season.
Long played three senior matches for the Bombers in 2016 but was unable to break into the club’s AFL side last season, playing in the VFL instead.
The fleet-footed runner averaged 15 disposals, four marks and three tackles across his 15 games in the VFL in 2017.
Essendon coach John Worsfold said the Bombers had built their game plan around speed and saw Long as a valuable commodity.
“Jake has shown a lot of promise in the way he plays. He is mainly on the wing but we think he can play halfback as well,” Worsfold said.
“He has good speed, good ability to break the lines and deliver the ball going forward.
“He continues to grow as a footballer and we think his best footy is ahead.”
Worsfold said Long needed to work on his consistency if he was to make it at the elite level.
“Obviously upgrading Jake isn’t a light decision but we see the upside in what he can bring and we think he has learnt a lot about what it takes to be an AFL footballer and he is ready to grab that spot on the senior list,” he said.
Long will face a tough task breaking into the side in 2017 with the Bombers acquiring the services of speedy halfback Adam Saad, dynamic forward Jake Stringer and goalkicking midfielder Devon Smith.