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Contract talks likely to start soon: Goddard

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Brendon Goddard says he has no plans to leave Essendon before his career ends - ${keywords}
Brendon Goddard says he has no plans to leave Essendon before his career ends
I am getting older so it's not getting easier
Brendon Goddard

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BRENDON Goddard expects to open talks on a new contract with Essendon soon as the veteran enters the final season of his four-year deal with the Bombers.

The star midfielder, who will skipper the club this season in Jobe Watson's absence through suspension, signed the long-term deal when he joined from St Kilda as a free agent at the end of 2012. 

His entire stint at Essendon has been shrouded in controversy throughout the supplements saga, but Goddard's form has kept up, including winning the first best and fairest of his career in 2013. 

Goddard said he was yet to start discussions on extending his stay, but predicted negotiations would commence soon.

"I think it will be on the agenda," Goddard said on Thursday. 

"Obviously we know this is the last year of my four-year contract so it will be a discussion we have pretty soon I would've thought." 

The 30-year-old will start his 14th AFL season next week when the Bombers take on Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium. He stopped short of predicting how long he wanted to extend his career beyond this year. 

"Physically I feel great, but I've known from past teammates and have been told a number of times that it can turn pretty quick. I'm under no illusion that it's not getting any easier," Goddard said.

"In saying that, physically my last two or three years consistently my body has felt as good as it has any other year.

"I'm pretty optimistic but also pretty honest with where I'm at, and I am getting older so it's not getting easier."

Goddard's future was the subject of speculation during last year's trade period, with some interest from rival clubs in the influential ball user.

But the former Saint said he had no interest in ending his career anywhere but Essendon. 

"I plan on staying at the Bombers. When that happens and when we start discussions [we'll get to that], but I'm very happy where I am," Goddard said. 

Goddard assumes Essendon captaincy at one of the lowest points in the club's proud history, but he said his focuses had shifted for this season after the bans to 12 of the club's senior players.

The Bombers have recruited 10 players with AFL experience to bolster their depth, but will be without the likes of Michael Hurley, Dyson Heppell, Cale Hooker, Brent Stanton and Tom Bellchambers this season.

"Obviously my mentality and expectations have changed a little bit, I think that's only natural," Goddard said.

"I seriously haven't thought about the next three-to-five years. I'm thinking more about the present and what I can do and what we can do as a group to get the group back to greatness and to get these guys' development sped up. That's purely and solely my focus."

Brendon Goddard catches up with ex-teammate Nick Riewoldt. Picture: AFL Media