RICHMOND premiership player Jacob Townsend will attempt to reignite his career at a third AFL club after being thrown a lifeline by Essendon.
In a move that was first reported by AFL.com.au, the 26-year-old, who was delisted by the reigning premier, signed with the Bombers during the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP).
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A childhood Essendon fan, Townsend is expected to add greater flexibility to the Dons with his ability to play as a bash-and-crash inside midfielder and as a defensive forward capable of kicking bags of goals, just as he did during his remarkable renaissance in 2017 when he became a Tigers premiership hero.
Townsend (right) celebrates the 2017 premiership with Jack Riewoldt. Picture: AFL Photos
Bombers list and recruiting manager Adrian Dodoro was excited by the possibilities.
"Jacob will provide us with a really hard edge. He is a player that is really combative, and we felt that we needed these attributes in our line-up," Dodoro said.
"Jacob has the ability to apply pressure in our forward line, but we are also confident that he can play inside as a big-bodied midfielder.
"The focus for us was to find experienced players during this period and we believe Jacob can play a great role and have an instant impact at the club."
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The popular Townsend has played 48 AFL games – 28 as a foundation player with Greater Western Sydney and 20 with Richmond. He made just one senior appearance with the Tigers this year, in the 67-point loss to Geelong at the MCG in round 12.
He will forever be known for his phenomenal surge at the end of the 2017 season.
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Just when he thought his AFL career was over, Townsend transformed from a midfielder to an undersized key forward. In his previous 32 AFL games he'd tallied just 4.7, had never been a multiple goalkicker and hadn't kicked a goal at AFL level since his last game for the Giants two years earlier, but managed to boot 16.2 in five games to be a strong contributor to Richmond's first premiership in 37 years.
Townsend will be reunited with two members of the Tigers' triumphant coaching panel in coach-in-waiting Ben Rutten and Blake Caracella.