ESSENDON has added badly needed ruck depth by trading for Carlton's Andrew Phillips in the first deal between the arch-rivals in 16 years.

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The Bombers handed over 57 and 70 to the Blues in exchange for the 28-year-old as flagged by Essendon also received picks 61 and 72.

The trade is the first between the two clubs since Justin Murphy's move from the Blues to the Bombers in exchange for Cory McGrath in 2003, and Matthew Allan went from Carlton to Essendon the same year.

Phillips moves to his third club, after starting his career at Greater Western Sydney.

He lined up in 16 games in 2016, which was his first season at Carlton, but has never managed more than nine in any other season.

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Phillips has played 41 matches throughout his career.

He had been offered a one-year deal to stay at the Blues.

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The Bombers were in need of back-up for Tom Bellchambers. Pre-season supplemental selection period signing Zac Clarke struggled at times when called in and his future remains uncertain, while Sam Draper is recovering from a knee reconstruction.

"We’re pleased to welcome Andrew Phillips to the red and black family," Essendon head of recruiting Adrian Dodoro said.

"We have been transparent about our desire to add another ruckman to our list, and Andrew is a talented tap ruckman.

"After nine years in the AFL system, he will also provide important experience and leadership, alongside Tom Bellchambers, for the development of Sam Draper."