The 2017 season marks somewhat of a rebirth for the Essendon Football Club.
After four years of turmoil, court cases, and bans; the club can finally rejoice in a preseason that is devoid of controversy.
The Bombers, for the first time in a long time, are afforded the luxury of focusing on footy and nothing else.
Essendon is still yet to appoint their captain for the upcoming season, and speaking on radio on Tuesday night, their chief executive Xavier Campbell stated that, “there was no shortage of candidates”, including former captain Jobe Watson.
For the club and player’s sake, Essendon should strike Watson’s name from the list.
For a club who has worked tirelessly to repair an image tarnished by the doping scandal, the decision to appoint a new captain stands as a center point to, in their own words, their “comeback story”.
For Essendon, who have a number of standout candidates for their captaincy, none more so than Dyson Heppell, to reappoint Watson as their club captain, would seem to be a backwards step in their path of redemption.
For Watson himself, a member of the banned Bombers who found themselves banished from AFL life in 2016, he has relished in life away from the game, away from the controversies that surrounded his club, and away from the pressure of captaining an AFL football side.
As slowly but surely Essendon lined up their stars for a return to AFL football in 2017, it was Watson who needed the most coaxing -- with the champ unsure if his mind, or body, were up to another season of elite level footy.
He eventually realised his love for the game remained, and since his return to Essendon, all mail out of the club has been glowing in its praise for the champ.
He’s flourishing back in the footy environment, flourishing being back with his mates, and flourishing not having the added pressure of leading the footy club.
All cards on the table, Watson has one, maybe two years of AFL footy left, and for a man that has given everything he physically and mentally can for the Essendon Football Club, the least they can give him in return, is a season or two of only worrying about his own football.
For club and player, it’s time to relieve Jobe of the added pressure of the club captaincy; it’s time to hand the reigns over to the next generation; It’s time for Dyson Heppell.
Digital Editor, The Greenfield Post
Ryan is the Digital Editor of The Greenfield Post and the person you should annoy if you want to write for us.