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Dazzling Don locked in for two more years

Injury fears confirmed, Gaff and Brayshaw meet Footy Feed with Matt Thompson, Nat Edwards and Mitch Cleary
I miss my family of course, my family come over as often as they can … I was never really looking to go home
Orazio Fantasia

ESSENDON livewire Orazio Fantasia has re-committed to a club he sees as his "second family" for a further two seasons.

Fantasia, who will miss Friday's season-defining clash with Richmond due to a hamstring complaint, said he never felt the urge to explore his footballing options.

Already contracted for next season, the South Australian has signed until the end of 2021.

"I love this place, this is like my second family now," Fantasia told AFL.com.au.

"I've been here for five years already. I had next year already contracted (and to make it) another three years, I'm super excited.

"The bond we share in the locker room – I think Myersy (David Myers) said it on the weekend, the love we have for each other has grown massively.

"I miss my family of course, my family come over as often as they can … I was never really looking to go home."

Fantasia was taken off in the final term of last week's win over St Kilda with hamstring tightness before scans confirmed a minor strain.

It is his fourth separate injury this season, having already missed seven matches through knee, groin and adductor setbacks.

"It is frustrating, but that's just footy," Fantasia said.

 

"If you look back, the past two seasons (2016 and 2017) were some of my better seasons and had I full pre-seasons and got that work in.

"This year, I didn't really start full training (until) January or February, I had the 'scope (surgery) on my knee which set me back a little bit.

"They're the sort of things, I feel like I'm playing catch-up a little bit. (I) can play five or six games and get a bit fatigued and get injured again."

Should the Bombers upset the Tigers and keep their slim finals hopes alive, Fantasia will be hoping to continue his form in recent returns from injury, if fit to play Port Adelaide in round 23.

Following his adductor injury in rounds 16 and 17, the 22-year-old returned to kick five goals against Fremantle in round 18.

"I've been injured a fair few times this year and then been able to come straight back into the team and have an impact, so fingers crossed," he said.

 

Fantasia was this year elevated to the leadership group for the first time, a role he wants to maintain.

While he studies a Diploma of Business away from the club, his golf battles with teammates have drawn them closer together this year.

With the addition of recruits Devon Smith and Jake Stringer this year, the Bombers' rivalry has stepped up a notch.

"We've created a little golf tournament, the 'EFC Open'," Fantasia said.

"I reckon we've got about 25-30 boys playing at the moment. We're running a stableford points comp – to make it quite even everyone plays off their handicap.

"We've played about five rounds so far and we'll just keep going until we eventually find a winner. We're looking for about 10 rounds and then a championship round.

"We've got a few sharks in the group, Marty Gleeson and Michael Hurley lied about their handicaps at the start so they've gone off to an early lead and we're just trying to draw them in."

As the end of season golf to Barnbougle in Tasmania awaits, Fantasia will be hoping for reason to push it back, starting with a win on Friday night at the MCG.