AFL change leaves Chappy happy

Star Essendon recruit Paul Chapman will aim to play 16 games this year and adds it is a fact of AFL life that he will need to be rested.


The 32-year-old says he is excited, rather than nervous, about entering the last phase of his outstanding playing career.

The three-time Geelong premiership player will reunite with old coach Mark Thompson with the Cats deciding late last year that his time had come.

“If I can get 16 games up for the year, it would be good,” he said.

“I will definitely be rested through the year – I dare say I will be asking for rests.

“You get to a stage in your career where you’d love to play them all, but you just have to be smart and think of the bigger picture.

“It’s taken me a little while to get that into my game, or thinking, but it’s definitely there now.”

Chapman does not think Essendon will use him as a substitute.

“Then again, I could be proven wrong and it most likely will happen now I’ve said probably I won’t,” he said, grinning.

The Norm Smith Medallist is also determined that he is not rested for the Anzac Day blockbuster or round 15, when Essendon play his old club.

“We’re hoping it’s not against Geelong … and the Anzac one, I wouldn’t like to sit out on that, either,” he said.

“They’re the two I have pencilled in to hopefully play.”

Injuries restricted Chapman to only 12 senior games last year and he is determined to repay Essendon’s faith.

He also feels rejuvenated by moving clubs.

“The best thing about the move is how positive it’s been,” he said.

“Now I just can’t wait to get out there with my teammates and just prove to them that the way that we play is the right way to play and I’m in there with them 100 per cent.

“You can fall into the same old trap – here we go again – same place, same gym, all that.

“Everything has changed. You get refreshed; you re-charge the batteries.

“I probably needed the change more than what I thought.”

He will sit out Essendon’s opening pre-season game next Monday against Gold Coast, but plans to return for the following match.

It has been a big off-season for Chapman, with his partner Lauren also giving birth to their first child Myles 12 days ago.

He is adamant that young Myles will have no fatherly pressure about sport.

“He can go for whoever he wants; he can play whatever he wants,” Chapman said.