ESSENDON and Port Adelaide have finally agreed on a deal that will see Brandon Zerk-Thatcher move to the Power and Xavier Duursma land at the Bombers.
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The deal went down to the wire on the final day of the 2023 Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period, with Zerk-Thatcher, pick No.73 and two future fourth-round picks headed to the Power in exchange for the 23-year-old Duursma.
Zerk-Thatcher enjoyed his most productive season at the Hangar in 2023, playing all 22 matches after managing 29 senior appearances in the previous four seasons since being selected by Essendon with the 66th pick at the 2017 NAB AFL National Draft.
A strong finish to 2022 rolled into a season in which the 195cm key defender established himself as an important member of Brad Scott's back half.
Zerk-Thatcher is yet to score a goal in his 51 career games and will be hoping for a chance to float forward for his first in front of an Adelaide Oval packed with Power fans.
Duursma was selected with pick 18 in the 2018 NAB AFL National Draft, completing an exciting trifecta of first round selections for Port Adelaide that included Connor Rozee (pick 5) and Zak Butters (12).
The trio debuted together in round one, 2019, with all three impressing in the Power's defeat of Melbourne at the MCG.
"We identified a need for tall defenders in our backline and we are excited to bring Brandon to the club because he fills that need,” said Port list manager Jason Cripps said.
"He is athletic for his size and has developed a consistency to his game over the last 12 months."
Duursma played 20 matches in his first year but has failed to rack up as many games in any season since, playing 16 in 2023 while Butters and Rozee stamped themselves as two of Port's most important players.
"I'm very excited to join the Bombers, it's been a stressful period of time but cannot wait to get started," Duursma said.
"My best football is ahead of me, and I can't wait to be pulling on the red and black, and running out in front of all the amazing Bomber fans.
"I want to thank the Port Adelaide Football Club for the opportunity to play AFL football and I am very grateful for my time with them."
Duursma's sister Yasmin is a member of Port Adelaide's AFLW squad, while younger brother Zane is a midfielder/forward expected to go early in this year's AFL Draft.