Suspended Essendon captain Jobe Watson has confirmed that he will return to the club to continue his football career in 2017.
Watson fronted the media on Friday morning at St Bernard’s College in Essendon and said he is excited about the prospect of playing again next season.
The 2012 Brownlow Medalist, who spent the majority of this year in New York, said he is unsure if he can return to his best and admitted that he only recently became sure of his decision to play on.
“I leant either way for a long time,” Watson said.
“Certainly when I left I didn’t think I would be back playing AFL.
“I’m not sure about that (whether he can return to his Brownlow Medal form),” Watson said at St Bernard’s College on Friday.
“I did a lot of training when I was over there (New York). Even if I wasn’t going to play, I prepared myself to come back to play. I didn’t want the decision not to be mine.”
Watson said his year abroad gave him the time and space away from the game he needed to gain clarity on the situation and come to an appropriate decision about his future.
“I’m really happy and content with the decision I’ve made,” Watson said.
“I believe in what John (Worsfold’s) doing and the direction he’s taking the club in.
“I never contemplated going anywhere else. It was certainly a driving force to be back playing with these guys. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m really happy with the decision that I’ve made.
“I think for me to go away … and have different experiences, it opened up my perspective on the world and on life.”
When quizzed on the potential of his Brownlow Medal being stripped, Watson said he will be at peace with whatever the outcome is.
“(The Brownlow Medal) doesn’t define me,” he said.
“One of the reasons I needed to leave was I wasn’t happy. Whatever happens is out of my control and I’ll deal with it accordingly.”
He mate, I'm going to need to borrow these back off you pic.twitter.com/gVuFeypgdm
— Jobe Watson (@JobeWatson) September 22, 2016
Watson is the last of the 12 banned current Essendon players to reveal his intentions for 2017.
Michael Hurley, Brent Stanton, Tom Bellchambers, Dyson Heppell, David Myers, Cale Hooker, Ben Howlett, Travis Colyer and Heath Hocking have all re-committed for next season, while Michael Hibberd has requested a trade to Melbourne and Tayte Pears has announced his retirement.