DELISTED Richmond premiership player Jacob Townsend looks set for an AFL lifeline, with Essendon set to give him a new home.
Townsend was delisted by the Tigers at the end of this season, two years after he played a surprise starring role in their breakthrough 2017 premiership.
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He managed only one game this season, for a total of 20 appearances in four seasons at Punt Road.
But AFL.com.au understands the 26-year-old, who gained a reputation as a hard nut for Greater Western Sydney before his stay at Richmond, is on the radar of the Bombers to add to their list before the start of next season.
Townsend was spotted meeting with the Bombers at their Tullamarine headquarters last week.
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He played forward in Richmond's dream run to the flag in 2017, booting 16 goals in the final five games of the year, including two in their Grand Final win over Adelaide.
But Townsend could also bring a gritty and bigger body to Essendon's midfield mix, supporting smaller midfielders Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish and Andy McGrath.
Townsend was an extremely popular member of Richmond's heralded culture, and administrators and former teammates are believed to have been buoyed by the news of his likely new destination.
He has played 48 games across his AFL career since making his debut for the Giants in 2012 in its inaugural season.
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Townsend had been linked to a possible move back to Greater Western Sydney since his delisting at Richmond.
Former Richmond assistant coaches Ben Rutten and Blake Caracella, who helped steer the Tigers to their golden era, are now at Essendon, with Rutten to take over the senior role at the end of next season.