Essendon have started to recruit top-up talent for the AFL pre-season, with five delisted players agreeing to have a run for the Bombers.
Mitch Brown, Jared Petrenko, Clint Jones, James Magner and Mitch Clisby have all verbally committed to join the club, with list manager Adrian Dodoro expecting them to sign contracts soon.
“These five players have agreed verbally after discussions with the player, their clubs and their player agents,” Dodoro told the club’s website.
“They will come into the club on Thursday to do medical testing, they will go through an induction process and we will treat them like a regular AFL player.
“They still have to tick some boxes before they sign the contract but it appears we are heading down that path with these boys.”
Former St Kilda tagger Jones is the most experienced, having played 149 AFL games including the 2009 and 2010 grand finals.
Jones, Adelaide small forward Petrenko, Geelong key forward Brown and Melbourne’s Clisby were all delisted by their respective AFL clubs at the end of the 2014 season.
Magner played 19 games for the Demons, but was shown the door at the end of their miserable 2013 campaign.
Essendon’s pre-season campaign starts on March 7, when they face St Kilda in Morwell.
The 25 players who were at Essendon during the 2012 season are sitting out the NAB Challenge to protect the anonymity of those players provisionally suspended following ASADA’s probe.
Of those, it is understood about 18 are facing charges at the anti-doping tribunal, which is now considering its verdict.
The charged players are not playing in the pre-season in case they are found guilty and face suspension.
Sitting out the NAB Challenge means they protect potential back-dated suspensions, which would start when they were charged late last year.
Western Bulldogs have confirmed forward Stewart Crameri, who left the Bombers after the 2013 season, will miss the first two rounds of the pre-season competition.