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Bomber Melksham weighing up his options

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Jake Melksham is considering a fresh start away from the Bombers - ${keywords}
Jake Melksham is considering a fresh start away from the Bombers

OUT-OF-CONTRACT Essendon midfielder Jake Melksham is weighing up his future at the club after struggling to reach top form this year.

AFL.com.au understands the 24-year-old has been recently offered a new two-year deal by the Bombers through to the end of 2017, but is believed to be considering a fresh start elsewhere.

Melksham, who was selected with pick 10 at the 2009 NAB AFL Draft, played 18 games in the Bombers' senior team this season and averaged 16 disposals through the midfield.

His best game came in round two against Hawthorn when he picked up 26 disposals in Essendon's thrilling win, and he has been a regular member of its team since debuting in 2010, playing 114 games.

Melksham's most consistent season came under James Hird in 2013, when he was used in a tagging role and finished fifth in the club's best and fairest.

He couldn't find the same continuity in 2014 under stand-in coach Mark Thompson and played 16 senior games as well as a handful in the VFL.

He is one of up to 15 out-of-contract players at the club whose futures are uncertain after Essendon's season ended with a three-point win over Collingwood last week.

The Bombers are already set for a busy exchange period, after key defender Jake Carlisle confirmed on Tuesday that he would seek a trade, with St Kilda, Carlton and North Melbourne believed to be most interested in acquiring him.

Carlisle joined the Bombers in the same draft as Melksham six years ago as a second-round selection.  

Veterans Dustin Fletcher, Paul Chapman and Jason Winderlich have already announced their retirements, but a number of players including Mark Baguley, James Gwilt, Courtenay Dempsey and Brent Stanton are yet to sign on for next season.    

The Bombers look set for a larger than usual list overhaul this year after their horror season, but are at least free of the draft penalties that have hindered their ability to trade and delist players in recent seasons.

They hold pick No.4 which, unless shifted by compensation selections, will be their earliest selection in the national draft since they took Scott Gumbleton with No.2 in 2006.