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Banned Bomber Michael Hibberd to leave Essendon

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 2: Michael Hibberd of the Bombers kicks the ball during the 2015 AFL round 18 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia on August 2, 2015. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Michael Hibberd has told Essendon he wants a fresh start
I have no ill-feeling toward Essendon, and would like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to play senior football
Michael Hibberd

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ESSENDON defender Michael Hibberd has confirmed he wants out of Bomberland.

Just days after the club secured Michael Hurley as a Bomber for life, Hibberd became the first of the suspended Dons to announce he would seek a "fresh start" at a rival club.

The Dons were disappointed by Hibberd's decision but have agreed to facilitate a trade.

Hibberd has been strongly linked to Melbourne, where former Essendon assistant coach Simon Goodwin will take over as coach at season's end, and suspended ex-teammate Jake Melksham is also on the Demons' list.

However, Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell told ABC radio Hibberd was yet to formally tell the club of his preferred destination. 

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In announcing his decision on Saturday afternoon, the 26-year-old thanked Essendon for giving him "the time and space" he needed to arrive at a decision.

"I had a process to work through and, after having time to reflect, I felt like I need a fresh start at another club to reinvigorate my career," Hibberd said in a statement released by the Bombers.

"I have, and will always have, great mates at the club and I wish them and the club all the best for next season and beyond.

"I have no ill-feeling toward Essendon, and would like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to play senior football."

In the statement, Campbell said the Bombers would help Hibberd find a new home.

"Obviously we are disappointed Michael won't be continuing his career at Essendon, but we understand and respect the reason behind his decision and will not stand in his way," Campbell said.

"We will now work to find a fair and reasonable outcome for both Michael and the Essendon Football Club.

"Finally, on behalf of the club I'd like to thank Michael for his professionalism and contribution. He will always be welcome at the Essendon Football Club and we wish him all the best for the future."

Hibberd, who was drafted with pick No.4 in the 2011 pre-season draft, played 84 games for Essendon from 2011-14, finishing fourth in the club best and fairest in 2014 and eighth last year.