The most highly prized of the twelve Bombers forced into observers’ roles this year, Michael Hurley, has apparently agreed to return to the team and has committed to a six-year deal.
It took five or six pow wows to secure Hurley, with his manager Paul Connors and Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell. It appears to be a coup on the part of Campbell, who by persuading Hurley to come back, may have gained him extra traction for his attempts to retain the other suspended players.
Over the course of the 12-month suspension, some of the players voiced the opinion that the club had not done enough to help them avoid the ADADA disaster, thus making their future loyalties uncertain.
Hurley was thorough in testing the waters regarding other clubs interested in his services. He met with representatives of the Bulldogs, Magpies and the Saints.
Essendon, rather than get their knickers in a bind, chose instead the route of not taking issue with Hurley’s seeking the highest bidder, even though he was contracted to the Bombers for next season.
The Bombers could afford to be philosophical, saying that they did not want to force any players who did not want to remain with the club despite their contract status, after all the supply of footballers exceeds the demand by quite a factor, does it not?