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Ex-Lion Sam Michael becomes Essendon's final top-up player

Tiger mystery, Sam is the man, team news Nat Edwards with the latest footy news
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 19:  Sam Michael of the Bombers competes for the ball during the Essendon Bombers AFL Intra-Club match at True Value Solar Centre on February 19, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Sam Michael competes in the ruck during Essendon's recent intraclub

ESSENDON has locked away its 10th and final top-up player after signing former Lions big man Sam Michael.

The 22-year-old ruck-forward has been training at Tullamarine in recent weeks and a fiercely competitive effort in last Friday's intraclub match helped Michael earn a second chance at AFL level.

"Sam’s attitude throughout this process has been excellent and we’re excited by what he can bring to the club this season," list and recruiting manager Adrian Dodoro said.

"He is a strong-bodied ruckman who complements the big men already on our list.

"Sam is well known to us now through his participation in training in recent weeks and also last year’s pre-season.

"He gets another opportunity at AFL level now and we’re confident he is a good fit to round out our playing list."

Essendon has been scouring the ranks of past AFL players to fill its list after 12 Bombers were banned for the length of the 2016 season under anti-doping rules.  

The new Bombers, who can only be signed for temporary one-year contracts, are former Docker Ryan Crowley, former Hawks Jonathan Simpkin and Sam Grimley, former Cats James Kelly and Mathew Stokes, former Tiger Matt Dea, former Dee Mark Jamar, former Lion James Polkinghorne and former Roo Nathan Grima.

All up it's a total of 1059 AFL games experience with Kelly the most seasoned player with three premierships and 273 games to his name.

"Given the circumstances, we’re pleased with the outcome," Essendon football manager Rob Kerr said.

"We’re excited about the opportunity for our young players to learn from these guys and also for the opportunity these new recruits have to make the most of another chance on an AFL list."

Coach John Worsfold has indicated up to four top-up players will debut for the club in Sunday's NAB Challenge opener against Carlton. 

All recruits will play at least one pre-season game, the coach said.