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Worsfold coy on Hurley's future

Football

Essendon coach John Worsfold speaks regularly with banned defender Michael Hurley but the topic of his playing future – which has been liked with the Adelaide Crows – hasn’t, and won’t, come up.

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Club chief executive Xavier Campbell confirmed he will meet with the star backman this week in a bid to get a clearer picture of his intentions beyond this season.

Hurley is signed to the end of next season but could argue that his contract was voided when 34 past and present players were handed anti-doping bans for their part in the club’s 2012 supplements program.

Five of the 12 banned players still at the club have either signed new deals or committed to honouring their current contracts.

Hurley would be hot property on the open market if he were to pursue that option, but Worsfold said it wasn’t his place to make a sales pitch to the in-demand 25-year-old.

“I will touch base with him, as I do, but I won’t be involved in that,” Worsfold said of Hurley’s contract negotiations.

“I’m not really trying to read their minds or anything, other than just talking to them and catching up.

“They like to ask how the players are going and how I’m seeing things and I like to know what they’re up to … what they’re doing with their time now and what their plans are over the next month or two.

“Basically that’s why I’m catching up with them.”

Cale Hooker, David Myers, Heath Hocking and Travis Colyer have signed new deals to return to the club when their suspensions end later this year, while Dyson Heppell has confirmed he will honour his current contract that extends to next season.

Worsfold caught up with skipper Jobe Watson before he left on an overseas holiday recently but it remains unclear if he intends to play on next year.

The club remains confident that it can retain all 12 banned players and Worsfold said there is still plenty of time to settle the matter.

“Obviously, going into the trade period we need to have some idea of the numbers on our list, but it’s not critical,” he said.

“I’m pretty confident we’ll have a great idea of where they all sit by then.”

-AAP

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