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, 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.


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.

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