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Ex-Lion out to grasp Bombers opportunity

Essendon top-up player Sam Michael is looking to make the most of his opportunity with the Bombers, however long it may last.


The former Brisbane Lions ruckman signed a temporary contract with the club on Wednesday and joins former Lions teammate James Polkinghorne, delisted Saint Clint Jones, discarded Cat Mitch Brown and ex-Demons James Magner and Mitch Clisby in doing so.

The contracts last until March 18, but may be extended on a weekly basis depending on the outcome of the AFL’s anti-doping tribunal, which has adjourned to consider the case brought against 34 former and current Essendon players issued with infraction notices over the club’s 2012 supplements program.

All players still on the club’s list from 2012 will stand out of the competition to preserve the anonymity of those affected, leaving the Bombers to field a side topped up with players from its own VFL affiliate team and former AFL players.

Michael and the rest of the top-up group are guaranteed of the opportunity to play in the club’s first two NAB Challenge games, against St Kilda and GWS, with the agreements able to be extended into the home and away season if the tribunal takes longer than expected to deliver its findings or if suspensions are handed down.

“At the moment I’m just looking forward to enjoying this opportunity, having a bit of fun and really having a go when I get out there,” Michael said.

“You never know what happens after that, but I’m just looking forward to taking on the opportunity.”

Michael, 21, played three games with the Lions in 2013 from the club’s rookie list, but wasn’t offered a new contract at the end of last season.

The 200cm ruckman was set to resume his career with Redland, the NEAFL club he was originally recruited from, before he got a call from the Bombers late last week.

“I jumped at the opportunity when I got the call,” he said.

“I had the night to process it, but it was definitely something that I wanted to take on. I’ve still got aspirations of playing at the highest level, so it was the perfect opportunity for me and I’m grateful that Essendon came to me and offered it.”

Former Adelaide forward Jared Petrenko is expected to round out the club’s group of top-up players later this week.