SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 14: Jordan Ridley of the Bombers runs the ball during the round 2 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at Sydney Cricket Ground on June 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Despite signing a four-year extension in October last year, Bombers defender Jordan Ridely has inked a new contract with Essendon that will keep him at Tullamarine until the end of the 2026 season.

The two-year bumper follows another strong campaign for the 22-year-old, who was a valuable asset for the Bombers' defensive structure again this season.

Ridley amassed a fourth-place finish in the Bombers' best and fairest count for 2021, looking to back up his Crichton Medal-winning campaign last year in what was a breakout season for the backman.

Having played just the nine games prior to 2020, Ridley has quickly emerged to become a reliable dead-eye defender for Essendon.

The Bombers confirmed Ridley's extension on Thursday, with the backman commending coaches Ben Rutten and Daniel Giansiracusa, and expressing his excitement to have extended his stay at Bomberland.

“I really love this footy club, so it was obviously a pretty easy decision to extend for another couple of years,” Ridley said.

“It was really enjoyable playing under ‘Truck’ (Ben Rutten) and ‘Gia’ (Daniel Giansiracusa) this season, and as a new young backline with the likes of Laverde, Redman, Hind, Stewart and Heppell, we’re building our chemistry that will only continue to grow with another pre-season under our belts.

“We’re all spurred on from that elimination final result in Launceston a few weeks ago, and that will sit with us over the pre-season, but we’re all so hungry to take this club forward to achieve success and I’m excited to be a part of that over the years to come.”

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Jordan Ridley of the Bombers kicks during the round 6 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Metricon Stadium on July 11, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Ridley's signature is the latest to extend this season, with Essendon enjoying a strong season of re-signings in 2021.

Kaine Baldwin (2022), Tom Cutler (2022), Matt Guelfi (2022), Brayden Ham (2022), Tom Hird (2022), Harrison Jones (2023), Cian McBride (2022), Zach Merrett (2027), Darcy Parish (2023), Mason Redman (2023), Jordan Ridley (2026), Devon Smith (2023), Jake Stringer (2024), Alec Waterman (2022) and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (2023) have all inked new deals this year.

The Bombers have bid farewell to Patrick Ambrose (retired), Ned Cahill (delisted), Cale Hooker (retired), Lachlan Johnson (delisted), Irving Mosquito (delisted) and David Zaharakis (delisted) this off-season.

HOBART, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Jake Kelly of the Crows handballs whilst being tackled Jarrad Waite of the Kangaroos during the round seven AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Adelaide Crows at Blundstone Arena on May 6, 2017 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Essendon are set to acquire wantaway Crows backman Jake Kelly this off-season via free agency, with the 26-year-old set to add to a strong Bombers backline for 2022.