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Banned Bomber Stanton signs up for 2017

AAP logoAAP 10/08/2016 By Jason Phelan

Essendon have welcomed another banned Bomber back into the fold, with the AFL club announcing Brent Stanton has signed a one-year deal to play in 2017.

The veteran midfielder became the seventh of 12 current Essendon players serving anti-doping suspensions to recommit to the club.

He joins Tom Bellchambers, Dyson Heppell, David Myers, Cale Hooker, Travis Colyer and Heath Hocking, which leaves skipper Jobe Watson, Michael Hurley, Michael Hibberd, Ben Howlett and Tayte Pears yet to confirm their intentions once their bans end this year.

The 30-year-old said that in June he was leaning toward returning but wasn't ready to commit at that stage given the mental toll the club's 2012 supplements saga had taken on him.

"I took the time I needed to make sure I made the right decision for myself, my family and the footy club," Stanton said.

"I'm really excited about playing on next season.

"Being a one-club player with Essendon is something that is really important to me."

Essendon have been clear in their desire to bring all 12 of the 34 suspended past and present players still at the club back into the fold.

Watson, who will be 32 by the time next season gets under way, is mulling retirement, while the Bombers have a fight on their hands to retain Hurley and Hibberd, who have been linked with moves to the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne, respectively.

Coach John Worsfold has endured a difficult first season in charge, with the depleted Bombers at the bottom of the ladder after a club record 17-game losing streak.

"We've got a very clear pathway for where we are heading and Brent's experience and leadership will play a big part in those plans," Worsfold said.

"Brent's effort and commitment is unquestionable. He has fantastic endurance, drives high professional standards and is a wonderful role model for our younger players."

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