Essendon’s desperation to fill its gaping tall defender chasm has sparked the club to lure injury-plagued backman Nathan Grima out of retirement to play as a top-up Bomber.

The ex-North Melbourne backman is close to signing a deal that would see him become the club’s ninth top-up player for 2016, despite only announcing his retirement from the AFL in July 2015 due to persistent back problems.

It’s believed the condition of the 30-year-old’s back has improved over the Christmas break, leading to the defender’s interest in reigniting his footy career this season when the Bombers approached him. understands Grima has passed a couple of intense medical screenings in recent weeks at the Bombers, who now require just one more top-up player to complete their allotted 10 short-term signings before the March 15 deadline.

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