Jordan Ridley after the AAMI Community Series match between Essendon and Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on March 1, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON will kick off its season without Jordan Ridley after the star defender confirmed he would miss three to four weeks with a quad injury.

Ridley injured his right quad in Friday night's 12-point practice match loss to Geelong.

He will be sidelined for Essendon's round-one clash with Hawthorn on March 16, and likely the games against Sydney (March 23) and St Kilda (March 30).

"Probably have to take a few weeks off," Ridley said on Monday, with his right quad in a compression bandage.

"Won't play in round one unfortunately, but hopefully not too (long) after that - so three to four weeks.

"It's certainly frustrating. No player wants to go through the whole pre-season and then go down on the eve of the season.

"So certainly disappointing. Also positive though that it won't be a long period of time, so hopefully it's only one or two games and I'll be back out there."


A right quad muscle ended Ridley's 2023 season in round 19, but he said the low-grade strain was "in a different spot".

The 25-year-old is destined to headline a defensive tall trio this season with recruit Ben McKay and finally-fit young gun Zach Reid, who has played just eight games in three years.

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"It's a good mix that complements each other," Ridley said.

"We've got very different strengths, and hopefully we can just get some continuity down there and start to really gel."


The Bombers have been monstered by big forwards in recent years.

With Reid and McKay (both 202cm) on hand to take the big key forwards, 2020 best-and-fairest winner Ridley (192cm) could play a freer role when he returns.

"They just bring a bit of stability. Both of them are very, very talented players in their own right," Ridley said.

"Obviously both big presences, both over 200cm tall, so really looking forward to playing a lot of footy with them in the future.

"There's potentially room for that (Ridley zoning off) - certainly depends on the opposition week-to-week.

"We can actually help each other. Ben's a very capable interceptor. He's shown over the last few years, he's been right up there in terms of intercept marks.

"So hopefully I can help him just as much as he helps me."


Ridley and his teammates were taking part in Essendon's membership telethon, days after the defender extended his contract through to 2029.

"I certainly couldn't see myself playing anywhere else at the moment," he said.

"Especially with the signatures we've had over the last few years, it gives me a lot of confidence that the club's going in the right direction."