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Jamar joins Dons as seventh top-up player

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 20:  Bombers ruck coach Mark Jamar kicks the ball during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at True Value Solar Centre on January 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Mark Jamar with Matthew Leuenberger at Essendon training
It’s definitely refreshing having a few months off, although I did have a kick up north a couple of times
Mark Jamar

MARK Jamar has joined Essendon as a top-up player after the Bombers managed to convince him to play in 2016.

The former Demon is understood to have made the difficult decision to resume his AFL career after much consideration.

Melbourne delisted him after 155 games with the club and he was making a good fist of establishing his life beyond the game.

He had a job, was set to play with St Kevin's Old Collegians and had joined the Bombers as a part-time ruck coach.

However, the season-long ban of 34 past and present Essendon players by the Court of Arbitration for Sport made him a prime target for the Bombers who needed a back-up ruckman for recruit Matthew Leuenberger.

The resilient Jamar stood out in a narrow field of available big men and it was reported that Port Adelaide had shown interest in the 32-year-old.   

"We obviously needed to add a ready-made ruckman to our list. Mark, as a big-bodied, All Australian ruckman will provide us with a great deal of experience," Essendon football manager Rob Kerr said. 

"We feel Mark will work well with Matthew Leuenberger and assist with the development of our young players such as Gach Nyuon."

Jamar said he couldn’t resist another change at AFL level.

"I think the opportunity to play footy again at the highest level with a great bunch of people who I’ve got to know over the last month – that really excited me and I’m delighted to be on board," he told the Essendon website.

"I had a good career opportunity with a job at Geotech in Port Melbourne.

"I spoke to the boss yesterday and he was very supportive and I look forward to maintaining the relationship – so when footy’s done I can hopefully get my old job back."

Jamar, named All Australian in 2010, had recently played in the Northern Territory Football League.

He said his body was feeling fresh.

"It’s a tough game - the demands of the game grow every year," he said.

"So I just need to be smart, put in solid sessions to build up to where I want to be.

"It’s definitely refreshing having a few months off, although I did have a kick up north a couple of times, that helped my touch a little bit.

"I’m looking forward to getting into it and doing the hard work and progressing slowly and building up to the season."

Adding Jamar to the list brings to seven the number of top-up players the Bombers have recruited with James Kelly, Mathew Stokes, Jonathan Simpkin, Ryan Crowley, Matt Dea and James Polkinghorne already revealed as Essendon players.

The club is understood to be keen to obtain a key position player, but the stocks of available players that fit the criteria are low.

AFL.com.au also understands that clubs other than Essendon which have lost players through suspension have entered the market for players delisted in the past two seasons.

A decision from the AFL on whether they will be able to recruit top-up players is expected in coming days.