The banter hasn’t started yet but Paul Chapman knows it’s coming.
After 261 AFL games, Chapman will face Geelong for the first time on Friday night.
The occasion is sure to be emotional; last year Chapman said the prospect of leaving the Cats “hurt” and he desperately wanted to be a one-team player.
But after settling into his new home, Chapman insisted he had nothing against the club that let him walk away last year after 14 seasons.
“It’s good for the hype, ‘I got dumped last year and there might be vengeance’,” he joked.
“But there’s no ill feeling from me.
“That’s footy these days, these things happen and you’ve got to make some tough decisions.”
Chapman said he expected a few nerves on match-day and was prepared for the inevitable ribbing and verbal stoushes.
“There’s been nothing as yet but I’m sure it will come,” he said.
“Once the siren goes, both sides will be out there to win and hopefully we can do the job.”
At this point in the season, both sides could do with the points.
Geelong are fresh from a loss on the Gold Coast that sets their top-four ambitions back, whereas Essendon cannot afford to lose any more ground if they want to play finals.
And as fate would have it, Chapman could play a starring role.
Rested against Adelaide, the veteran midfielder is cherry ripe for a crack at his old club.
Chapman’s opposition research briefing is yet to be delivered to his team-mates but he had warned them of Geelong’s famed focus on backing up losses with a win.
“When’s the last time they lost two in a row? I can’t really remember” he said.
A valid point: Geelong’s last back-to-back losses came in May 2012.
His coach Mark Thompson, who steered Geelong and Chapman to two flags, offered him the chance to pick whether to miss either the Adelaide game or this one.
Chapman said it didn’t take long to make a call.
“About three seconds,” he said.
“I think he threw that out there to make it as though I had some impact on the decision, which I had none.”