Jaiden Hunter in action at Essendon training on June 17, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON will keep an "open mind" on the type of player it will select at the upcoming Mid-Season Rookie Draft, with the Bombers confirming they will use a pick later this month.

There are now 25 potential open picks across the competition due to season-ending injuries and retirements so far this season, but clubs expect around half of those to be used at the May 29 mid-season intake. 

Matt Rosa, the Bombers' new AFL talent and operations manager, told AFL.com.au's Gettable that the club would be bringing in a player with their pick. 

Emerging midfielder Sam Durham, small forward Jye Menzie and Massimo D'Ambrosio, now at Hawthorn, have been among the Bombers' mid-season selections in recent years. 

"We've got the one spot as a result of Jaiden Hunter going on the inactive list, so we'll be taking a pick in the mid-season draft. There's [been] plenty of work at the moment scouring the nation trying to find some talent and the next couple of weeks will be really important as well," Rosa said.

"We're keeping an open mind. I think ideally you find a medium to long-term player that you can add to your list who can also come in and fill a specific need at the moment. But a lot can change in the next couple of weeks so we're casting the net wide and hopefully we can bring someone in for the long-term."


Rosa was appointed to the Essendon position last September, with the former West Coast and Gold Coast midfielder identifying a list management role as part of his future while he was still in his 207-game AFL career. 

"It was something I've really been working towards for 10-15 years. I was fortunate enough to make the most of the opportunities when I was a player to get some experience with the recruiting and list management teams at West Coast and Gold Coast," he said.

"I attended the Draft Combines, went and watched the state championships to learn off the recruiters and it was fantastic to have some great mentors in Rohan O'Brien at West Coast and Scott Clayton at Gold Coast. I always had a keen interest and when I was a player I finished a commerce degree as well in sports management so I always had an eye on sports admin. I'm thankful for the opportunity and loving it at the moment."

Matt Rosa during a West Coast training session in 2015. Picture: AFL Photos

The former Peel Thunder football manager is part of a transition process the Bombers announced last year with long-time recruiting boss Adrian Dodoro, with O'Brien also joining the club this season to bolster their scouting division after leaving the Eagles at the end of 2023. 

"It's great to have a mentor there like 'AD' who is so experienced in this space. To have AD still working heavily in the contracting space, we're obviously working closely together," Rosa said. 

"I've just started to move more into that space over recent weeks but to have the transition has really allowed me to get out and watch lots of live footy and get my head around the talent pool and obviously we've got the mid-season draft coming up. We're working really well as a team and we've been able to add to that team and really beef up our resources in the recruiting space."

The Bombers have started the season in strong form, sitting third on the ladder ahead of round 10 after last week's win over Greater Western Sydney, with Rosa saying the club would continue to assess the group before making any adjusted list calls. 

"We're constantly assessing the list but we're fully aware it's still a reasonably young list – I think we're the seventh youngest list in the comp, so we still feel there's plenty of growth and we're continually assessing where guys can play, if they can play multiple positions, and it's great the boys are getting some evidence out of the summer they had," he said.