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Ex-Lion in the mix for Bombers' remaining top-up spots

Nick Bowen  February 8, 2016 11:41 AM

AFL 2015 NAB Challenge - Essendon v St Kilda

Former Lions tall Sam Michael is no stranger to Essendon

FORMER Brisbane Lions tall Sam Michael is training with Essendon as the Bombers look to fill their two remaining top-up vacancies.

It is understood Michael started training with the Bombers last Monday and will spend this week at Tullamarine too as he bids to revive his AFL career.

Michael was one of the top-up players Essendon called on during last year's NAB Challenge, when every remaining player from the Bombers' 2012 list voluntarily sat out the pre-season competition while awaiting the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal's verdict on whether the club's supplements program that year breached the World Anti-Doping Code.

AFL sets rules for Essendon's top-ups

Michael played in one of the Bombers' three 2015 pre-season games, taking five marks in the 50-point round one loss to St Kilda. 

As a Lions rookie from 2012-14, he played three senior games, all of them in 2013.

The 22-year-old Queenslander is a big-bodied player – in his final season at the Lions, he was listed as 199cm and 103kg – who could help reduce the physical load on Essendon's young talls this year.

Flexible enough to play at both ends of the ground, he could appeal as a temporary replacement for suspended key defenders Cale Hooker and Michael Hurley, while he can also pinch-hit in the ruck. 

Essendon is permitted to name 10 top-up players before March 15 to cover the 12 players suspended for 2016 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month.

The Dons have already signed Ryan Crowley, James Kelly, Mathew Stokes, Matt Dea, Jonathan Simpkin, James Polkinghorne, Mark Jamar and Sam Grimley.