K rock Football

Ham among Dons re-signings

Brayden Ham leads his Essendon teammates off the field following his debut match in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

BRAYDEN Ham and Jayden Laverde have both signed one-year contract extensions with Essendon.

Drafted in 2018 from the Geelong Falcons, Ham will look to add to his 15 AFL matches in 2021.

“I couldn’t be happier to sign on for 2021,” Ham said.

“I was really pleased to build continuity in my game this season and really contribute throughout the midfield and up forward.

“I’m really enjoying learning and developing under ‘Truck’ (Ben Rutten) and ‘Cara’ (assistant coach Blake Caracella). They’ve helped me grow into a way that I can help the team and have given me the best environment to grow as a player.

“I’m really looking forward to hitting the ground running for pre-season and to achieve on-field success in 2021.”

Laverde managed six games in an injury-impacted 2020 season to take his total to 46 since being drafted in 2014 from the Western Jets.

“I’m rapt to remain in the red and black next season,” Laverde said.

“I feel as though I was able to improve and build on my game this year despite my ankle injury and I’m super excited to show that progress in 2021.”

“I do feel my best footy is certainly right around the corner, and I know with another pre-season under my belt, I’m confident I can make an impact and add value to the team.

“I’m really looking forward to working under ‘Truck’ (Ben Rutten) for next season, and I can’t wait to help drive this club forward.”

MEANWHILE, Ed Phillips has been delisted by St Kilda.

Phillips, who played 15 games for the Saints after being drafted in 2016, is the eighth post-season departure from the club.

“It was a really hard conversation to have,” St Kilda list boss James Gallagher said.

“It’s been a theme throughout this off-season, but unfortunately due to the situation our industry finds itself in, tough calls must be made.

“Ed has been a pleasure to have at the club for the past few years. He’s extremely hardworking, dedicated and always looking for ways to help those around him.

“I have no doubt Ed has big things ahead of him, and we wish him all the best with whatever comes next.”