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"Content" Watson to don the sash in 2017

Football

Essendon captain Jobe Watson has confirmed he’ll continue his decorated – albeit controversy-marred – AFL career next season.

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Watson, among 34 past and present Essendon players banned this season because of the club’s 2012 supplements scandal, says he agonised over the decision.

“I’m content with the decision I have made, it has been a long one,” Watson told reporters in Melbourne this morning.

Watson spent much of the current season overseas on holidays .

“I leant either way for a long time,” he said of retiring or continuing.

“Certainly when I left I didn’t think I would be back playing AFL.”

Watson is the last of the 17 current and former Essendon players still on AFL lists to confirm his intentions.

Jobe Watson is returning to AFL action. Photo: Julian Smith / AAP

Jobe Watson is returning to AFL action. Photo: Julian Smith / AAP

Of the 12 still at Essendon this year, only Michael Hibberd and Tayte Pears are not staying at the club – Hibberd wants a trade to Melbourne and Pears has quit to pursue a career in fire fighting.

“I never contemplated going anywhere else, it was certainly a driving force to keep playing with these guys,” Watson said.

“I’m really happy with the decision I have made.”

But the uncertainty is not over for Watson.

The 34 players have an ongoing appeal in the Swiss legal system against their doping suspensions.

That appeal has a slim chance of success and once resolved, the AFL Commission will go ahead with deciding whether Watson should keep his 2012 Brownlow Medal.

Essendon remain adamant that Watson should keep the medal but the likelihood is he will be stripped of the honour because of the doping ban.

Watson ended the long-held speculation about his future last night with a cheeky tweet, posting a photo of his dog and a pair of football boots on Twitter, with the comment: “He (sic) mate, I’m going to need to borrow these back off you.”

His father, Essendon legend Tim, told SEN radio today Jobe’s “time away gave him plenty of clear air to think about what it was he wanted to do”.

“The decision by CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport) was a shock to a lot of people,” he said.

“Getting over that was one thing … and then getting to the point where, okay, now you actually want to think about what you’re going to do in the future – he had to separate those two.

“It’s been a long process in his own mind.”

 

-AAP

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