PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Michael Hurley of the Bombers kicks the ball during the 2018 AFL round 02 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Essendon Bombers at Optus Stadium on March 31, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Michael Hurley will return to The Hangar in 2023 as a part of the coaching panel to develop players who are learning the ropes of the club in their first four years.

The Jack Jones Academy hosts players growing into professional athletes and ensuring they can meet AFL expectations while managing their life off the field.

The retired defender almost didn't make it back to the field and battled a life-threatening hip infection in 2021. This year, he played five VFL games and had the fairytale send-off with a final AFL game in Round 23.

During his time recovering and getting back to full health, he acted as a mentor and aided in developing the VFL side.

Hurley spoke to Essendon Media following the announcement of his return and praised the opportunity to develop the younger players in a coaching and player-welfare role.

“After spending the last 14 years at the club as a player, I'm thrilled to start my next journey as a coach and give back to the club which has given me so much,” Hurley said.

“This is a new and exciting chapter for the club. With Brad coming on board as senior coach, I look forward to working with him and the other coaches to drive standards and get the most out of our playing group.

“We have a lot of potential on our list and I am determined to create an environment that allows our developing players to become the best player and people.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 04: Michael Hurley walks out onto the field during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at Optus Stadium on September 04, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Essendon General Manager Josh Mahoney welcomes back the defender and is excited about the growth he will experience in his new role.

“We are thrilled to have ‘Hurls' on board as a development coach and to work with our first-to-four-year players,” Mahoney said.

“He's a much-loved figure here at Essendon, experienced the highs and lows of AFL football and we look forward to having him continue his career in the red and black as a coach.

“This appointment along with the addition of Travis Cloke are examples of our further investment into our football development program”.

Keeping Hurley at the club will provide the players with some stability who want to boost their ladder position next year after a disappointing 2022 season.