MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 29: Ben Howlett of the Essendon Bombers runs with the ball during the round 22 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Richmond Tigers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 29, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Ben Howlett re-signs with Essendon

Essendon’s Ben Howlett has re-committed to the Bombers for 2017.

Howlett, who has signed a one-year contract extension, said the “strong bond” with his teammates was the decisive factor in his decision to return to the club next season.

“From what I’ve witnessed and my discussions with Woosha it’s evident the team and Club is forging something really exciting, and I’m extremely motivated to be a part of this,” Howlett said.

“With my first child on the way I took the necessary time to determine what was best for my career and my family. In the end it was my strong bond with my teammates that made the decision easy.

“I would like to say a massive thank-you to the Essendon members and supporters for their loyalty and ongoing support this season. They’ve not only rallied around me but my teammates which has been incredible.”

Coach John Worsfold said he is thrilled Howlett has decided to return to the club next season.

“We are really pleased Ben wants to continue playing his footy here. He’s excited about the culture we are building and he can’t wait to get in and start working hard for next season, which is brilliant,” Worsfold said.

“We’re really excited about where we are heading as a Club and to have Ben part of this journey next year is fantastic.

“Ben is the ultimate professional and terrific on-field leader. He’s a tough competitor, he attacks the footy with aggression and his pressure around the ground is the standard we want all our players to emulate.”

Howlett has played 117 games for the Bombers since making his debut in 2010.

He joins fellow suspended players Michael Hurley, Brent Stanton, Tom Bellchambers, Dyson Heppell, David Myers, Cale Hooker, Travis Colyer and Heath Hocking in re-committing for 2017.

Michael Hibberd is so far the only player to request a trade, with the club still awaiting a decision from Jobe Watson and Tayte Pears.