Essendon defender Jordan Ridley has strengthened his ties at Tullamarine, signing a three-year extension to remain in red and black until the end of the 2029 season.

The 25-year-old was set to enter the 2024 season with a deal to remain a Don until the conclusion of 2026, however, off the back of recent recommitments from Kyle Langford and Elijah Tsatas, the rising backman sought to make a commitment of his own.

“I'm really excited but also very proud to have the opportunity to play for such a great club for such a long time,” Ridley told Bombers Media.

“Firstly, I can't go past the teammates I have here. I've got a lot of really strong relationships here at the club, making it really special to play alongside them. 

"It gives me a lot of confidence in where the club is heading with the likes of Zach (Merrett), Ben (McKay), Darcy (Parish) and Mason (Redman) signing on, so I'm really looking forward to playing with them for many years to come. Having ‘Scotty' (Brad Scott) come in and see how he has led the team has definitely impacted my decision to extend. 

“Looking at clubs like Geelong and Sydney and their sustained success is something I want to achieve with this club.”

While only 85 games into his senior career, Ridley has already begun to earn kudos inside and outside of Essendon's four walls, with the defender earning a pair of 22under22 team selections in 2020 and 2021, as well as a debut Crichton Medal in 2020.

Such is the stopper's consistency, Ridley, originally selected with the 22nd pick of the 2016 AFL Draft, has earned top-five finishes in each of the Bombers' last three best and fairest counts.

Speaking as the ink dried on the agreement between club and player, Essendon's GM Daniel McPherson claimed the long-term contract was just reward for Ridley's efforts.

“Jordan has become an incredibly influential player for us in recent seasons, and has emerged as an important leader amongst the playing group, both on and off the field. He is the ultimate professional, highly regarded and well respected by his teammates, and will play a key role in shaping and driving the team culture and environment we are building at Essendon,” McPherson said.  

“Despite an already impressive football resume, at just 25, we believe that Jordan's best football is well and truly ahead of him. 

“We are delighted he has chosen to extend his contract and remain with the Essendon Football Club until the end of 2029. It is a significant signing for our football club, and is a fantastic reflection of the confidence he has in Brad and the club moving forward.”

Ridley and the Bombers will begin their 2024 season proper on Saturday, March 16 when they face old enemies Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium.