JOBE Watson has given no indication on his intentions for next year, but says a decision on his future is likely to happen at the end of Essendon's season.
The midfielder, who missed last week's win over St Kilda with soreness, comes to the end of his four-year contract with the Bombers this season.
After missing last year while serving his anti-doping ban, the 32-year-old has had patches of strong form in his return season, but said he is unsure about whether he would play on in 2018. He plans to chat with coach John Worsfold about the topic later in the year.
"I haven't sat down with John, and I think that it's important to do that with the senior coach," Watson said in a rare media appearance on Tuesday.
"I always thought that, given how quickly the season's moved, it would be something I'll probably reflect on after the year and chat to John after the season's finished and find out what I want to do, what he wants to do, and what's the best thing for the club.
"I can't give you an answer about how I feel now because I haven't spoken to the appropriate people."
The three-time best and fairest winner said the Bombers' progress and signs of improvement this season could be a factor in his decision.
Watson was 19 and in his seventh AFL game when Essendon last won a final back in 2004 (it beat Melbourne in an elimination final), and he said he would consider the prospect of success when weighing up what he does next year.
"When I was thinking about it at the start of the year, I thought it would be dependent on how I was going, how the team was going and what was best for the group," he said.
"Certainly what John has been able to build with the team is tracking in the right direction. Every player wants to have success and it wasn't since I was playing in 2004 that we won our last final. The way the team is tracking, with certainly a bright future for Essendon supporters, it will be something I'll think about."
Watson has been rested twice this season, but will face the Kangaroos on Saturday as the club aims to post three consecutive wins for the first time since the middle of 2014.
"The body's feeling good. We had two six-day breaks so it was always the plan to either miss the Collingwood game or the St Kilda game and thankfully enough I was able to sit there and relax," he said.
"It wasn't as tight a game as the guys might have thought, so the guys did a good job and I'll be ready to go on Saturday."
Speaking at the launch of Essendon's clash for cancer game, which will see the Bombers take to Etihad Stadium with yellow armbands and the Challenge (a charity supporting kids with cancer) emblem, Watson said it had been difficult at stages in his comeback year.
"There's been some challenges getting back into it. We were on a boat in Croatia this time 12 months ago so it's a fair way away from being back in Melbourne, but the body has adjusted," he said.
"All the guys have gone through different phases of feeling good or struggling, but that is to be expected."