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Banned Bomber Hibberd requests trade

AAP logoAAP 20/08/2016 By Jason Phelan

Suspended Essendon defender Michael Hibberd has informed the Bombers he wants to start afresh at a new AFL club when his doping ban ends.

The 26-year-old was among 34 past and present Essendon players banned from the AFL for 12 months by the World Anti-Doping Agency and is the first of the 12 current Bombers to tell the club he wants out.

Hibberd's decision comes just days after teammate Michael Hurley spurned strong interest from rival clubs to sign a five-year contract extension.

Hurley joined Dyson Heppell, Tom Bellchambers, Cale Hooker, Heath Hocking, Travis Colyer, David Myers and Brent Stanton in re-committing to Essendon, leaving skipper Jobe Watson, Tayte Pears and Ben Howlett as the players yet to confirm their intentions.

Hibberd has been strongly linked with a move to Melbourne, where former Bombers assistant coach Simon Goodwin will replace Paul Roos as senior coach at season's end.

"I really appreciate the club giving me the time and space I needed to reach this decision about my playing future," Hibberd said via a club statement released on Saturday.

"I had a process to work through and after having time to reflect I felt like I need a fresh start at another club to reinvigorate my career.

"I have, and will always have, great mates at the club and I wish them and the club all the best for next season and beyond.

"I have no ill feeling toward Essendon and would like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to play senior football."

Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell, while disappointed with Hibberd's decision, wished him the best and said the club would work to find a fair outcome for both parties during the coming trade period.

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