Merrett has ruckmen's number

Midfielder Zach Merrett won’t emulate the onfield feats of former Essendon ruckmen Simon Madden and Steve Alessio.

But he will have the chance to create more history when he wears their guernsey number next season.

The Bombers yesterday handed their new recruit number 27, the same number the star big men wore for 562 games between them.

Merrett joined older brother Jackson, who wears number 20 and is preparing for his third AFL season, at Essendon via last month’s AFL national draft.

The Cobden teenager was one of eight new Bombers unveiled to the media in Melbourne yesterday.

Boom recruit Paul Chapman said he wanted to add a fourth flag to his resume.

The three-time Geelong premiership player said the Bombers could challenge next season.

“I’m still hungry. I want another premiership,” Chapman said. 

“I believe the Bombers aren’t too far away.

“Playing against them, we respected them highly, the way they played.”

Meanwhile, Brisbane recruit Lewis Taylor will wear number 28 — creating a nice symmetry, given he was drafted at the same number, two spots behind Merrett.

The Terang Mortlake export takes the number from ex-Lion Patrick Karnezis, who was traded to Collingwood in October.  

with AAP

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