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Star Bomber confirms he'll play in 2017

Jobe Watson's big announcement Essendon champion fronts cameras
The reason I felt I needed to leave is because I wasn't happy, and I realised that life was too short not to be happy
Jobe Watson

A RELAXED Jobe Watson says he is not sure if he can return to his best form but is excited about fulfilling his contract with Essendon in 2017.

Looking trim and wearing a cap with the word 'femminist' on the peak, Watson said he was also unsure if he wanted to resume the captaincy next season. Brendon Goddard filled in for Watson this year and Dyson Heppell is considered a future skipper.

"I'm not sure about that (whether he can return to his Brownlow Medal form)," Watson said at St Bernard's College on Friday.

"I did a lot of training when I was over there (New York). Even if I wasn't going to play, I prepared myself to come back to play. I didn't want the decision not to be mine."

He said he was enthusiastic about the prospect of once again donning the Essendon colours.

"I'm extremely excited to do so and am really looking forward to it," he said.

Jobe Watson speaks to the media at St Bernard's on Friday. Picture: Michael Willson 




"I leant either way for a long time. Certainly when I left, I didn't think I'd be coming back to play AFL.

When in New York, Watson lived with an old friend who is dating his former teammate, Scott Gumbleton. Watson has known the woman since he was 14.

"I was really fortunate that I was living in New York and my housemate was someone I was able to open up to."




He said playing at a club other than Essendon wasn't an option.

"I never contemplated going anywhere else," he said.

"It was certainly a driving force to be back playing with these guys (his teammates), but I knew deep down that that wasn't going to be enough. The right decision was how I felt with it, and whether or not I was happy to come back.

"Obviously I knew I would be happier playing with these guys."

A ripped Watson hit the track straight after facing the media. Picture: Michael Willson

The Court of Arbitration for Sport banned Watson until November 21, although he is able to return to the club two months prior to that date for training and medical assessment.

If an appeal by the banned players is unsuccessful, the AFL Commission will make a decision on whether Watson should be stripped of the Brownlow Medal he won in 2012.

Heath Hocking, Cale Hooker and David Myers with Watson on Friday. Picture: Michael Willson

However, the son of former Essendon star Tim was philosophical about that prospect.

"Dad's probably right, it doesn't define me. The reason I felt I needed to leave is because I wasn't happy, and I realised that life was too short not to be happy. It passes you by. It's not infinite," he said.

"Whatever happens is out of my control and I'll deal with it accordingly."

Watson said his father had not had much impact on his decision to play on.

"I didn't talk to him a hell of a lot. Like everyone who made the decision, I think it was important they came to it of their own accord, and I did so," he said.

According to Watson, he has not considered whether he wants to captain the side next season.

"I haven't thought about it. I'll work that out in due course," he said.

In New York, Watson did volunteer work as a barista after taking on a philosophy of saying 'yes' to every opportunity that came his way.

Having only watched one game for the entire season, he is unsure about how the Bombers will perform next season but is confident about the club's direction under coach John Worsfold.

"I spoke to the coach earlier this week. He's a really inspiring person and someone that I really admire," he said.

"At different times, I had been wondering about what I was going to do, but I felt by the middle of this week that it was time (to return)."

As a 31-year-old, he isn't sure about what his form will be like, but he has confidence his mental state will have him in good stead.

"The first time I touched a footy was when I got back here, so I don't know how I'm going to go," he said.

"I feel good. When you're feeling good in your mind, then your body acts accordingly."

Watson isn't planning on going to the Brownlow Medal on Monday. Another trip to New York is on the cards before he returns to Australia full-time.

He said he had been in contact with James Hird, the coach in charge during the tumultuous period at Essendon.

Watson hit the track immediately after his press conference for a training session with other banned teammates.

The last of the banned Bombers to reveal his intentions, he dropped a massive hint on Thursday night when he tweeted: "He (sic) mate, I'm going to need to borrow these back off you," he tweeted, along with a picture of his dog with his footy boots.

The 2012 Brownlow medallist returned to Melbourne earlier this month after spending part of his season-long suspension for doping offences working as a barista in New York.

Stand-in skipper Brendon Goddard was "over the moon" and said the decision on the captaincy will be up to the players.

"Over the moon. It's obviously a really personal decision for him to make and, obviously, he had to weigh up a lot. Obviously, the time is right now to announce it," he said on The Footy Show.

"I couldn't be happier. Quality person, individual, footballer, captain, a good friend.

"It's (captaincy) up to him - well, not really up to him, to be honest. It will come down to a vote from the players. He might just want to come back and play footy."

On Tuesday, coach John Worsfold said Watson was in top shape after making the most of a bad situation during his season off.

Nine banned Dons – Heppell, Cale Hooker, Michael Hurley, Tom Bellchambers, Travis Colyer, Heath Hocking, Brent Stanton, David Myers and Ben Howlett – have signed new deals and returned to training at Tullamarine last week.

The only two banned Bombers who won't return to the club next season are Michael Hibberd, who has requested a trade to Melbourne and Tayte Pears, who has retired to pursue a career in firefighting. 

ESSENDON'S POSSIBLE ROUND ONE TEAM NEXT YEAR
B: Mark Baguley, Michael Hartley, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
HB: David Myers, Michael Hurley, Brendon Goddard
C: Darcy Parish, Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton
HF: Travis Colyer, Cale Hooker, Aaron Francis
F: David Zaharakis, Joe Daniher, Orazio Fantasia
R: Matthew Leuenberger, Zach Merrett, Dyson Heppell 
I/C: Tom Bellchambers, Jayden Laverde, Heath Hocking, Kyle Langford

Yes skipper!!! Welcome back! ⚫️

A photo posted by Ben Howlett (@benhowlett40) on Sep 22, 2016 at 4:45am PDT

Yes skip.

A photo posted by Cale Hooker (@hooksy26) on Sep 22, 2016 at 5:01am PDT