Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett said he considered all options on the table before choosing to re-sign with the Bombers for another six years, and while he won’t hound his out-of-contract teammate Darcy Parish to commit to the club, he may give him “a nudge or two”.
Merrett said manager Tom Petroro took him through a thorough process before Merrett decided to stay a one-club player into his 30s, in a deal that will secure him at the club until the end of 2027.
Darcy Parish (left) and Zach Merrett (right) have formed a formidable combination for the Bombers.Credit:Getty Images
“He’s been a super player though and someone I’d love to play with for another six to eight years.
“We’re a pretty good combination now, I think, as teammates and I think he’s someone who’s only going to keep blossoming as a player now he’s starting to play more consistently in that midfield group. I might give him a nudge or two moving forward but I’ll let him make his own mind up.”
Merrett said since November that he had in the back of his mind to stay at the Bombers, but it was about round eight – when Essendon pushed the Giants to within two points – that he decided he wanted to remain in the red and black.
“We had a few close losses but it felt like everything we were trying to implement the last three to six months was starting to come out,” he said.
“Following that, we had a few wins and everyone probably thought I was changing my mind [to stay] then, but it was probably pre-that three-block where I felt like it was starting to turn.
“For me, the most exciting part has been the growth internally of players like [Jayden] Laverde, [Kyle] Langford, Darcy Parish is an obvious one. Nick Hind, Mason Redman, guys that have been on our list for a little bit now are starting to capture some form or play closer to their potential which I think is just reflective of the program and environment which has been created over the past six months.”
At 5-7, the candle has not yet burnt out on this season, but Merrett said the Bombers were just looking to continue their improvement in the second half of the year.
“We’re trying to grow into a real blue-collar team and I think our fans will be proud of the way we’ve done that over the first 12 weeks with our effort,” he said.
“But I think we can keep improving our ability to execute as well as that effort and what that turns into win-loss, who knows, but I think you can have a bit of a feeling about how we’re improving and if it keeps tracking that way I think we’d be super proud of the year.”
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