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Dons keen to lock in big man as rivals circle

Callum Twomey  July 5, 2013 5:00 PM

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Tom Bellchambers has attracted attention from rival clubs with the Bombers keen to lock him away

ESSENDON is keen to sign out-of-contract ruckman Tom Bellchambers as soon as possible with the impressive big man attracting interest from rival clubs.
 
Greater Western Sydney has already made its intentions clear it will target a ruckman during this year's trade and free agency period, and Bellchambers fits the mould as a 23-year-old on the brink of the best part of his career.  
 
Bellchambers has played 11 games this year and Hird said the club was intent on getting a deal sorted promptly.
 
"We hold Tom in very high regard, he's an excellent ruckman, an excellent person around our club and we want to sign him up," Hird said on Friday.
 
"We're very keen to get that done as soon as we can."
 
In the past two years the Bombers have signed captain Jobe Watson, Michael Hurley, Patrick Ryder and free agent Brendon Goddard to long-term deals.
 
Some industry sources believe the Bombers' salary cap is beginning to tighten, but Hird hoped Bellchambers would soon join young stars Dyson Heppell and Jake Carlisle in recommitting to the club.
 
"We've got three or four players who are very good players we're still trying to get re-signed and I'm sure that will happen very shortly," Hird said.
 
One of those is forward Stewart Crameri, who AFL.com.au revealed last month was being targeted by the Western Bulldogs with a long-term lucrative deal.
 
Hird is confident Crameri will remain a Bomber beyond 2013.  
 
"Stew's a great person and terrific player. We definitely want to keep him," Hird said.
 
"We're going to work very hard to keep him and I think he wants to stay here. We'll work towards that in the next few weeks."
 
Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey