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Zachary Merrett

Age: 28yr 1mth    Games: 206     Born: October 3, 1995     Origin: Sandringham Dragons
Height: 179cm     Weight: 85kg     Position: Midfield
Drafted: Round 2, Pick #26 2013 National Draft by Essendon Bombers
Supercoach Price: $606,800   Supercoach Profile
AFL Fantasy Price: $949,000   AFL Fantasy Profile
Contract Status: UFA at the end of 2027   AFL Player Contracts
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Zachary Merrett Biography

Thursday, 5 October 2023
Zach Merrett claims his fourth Crichton Medal as the Bombers' best and fairest for 2023.

Merrett now joins the upper echelon of Bombers throughout the club's esteemed history, alongside greats Tim Watson and Simon Madden, with four Crichton Medals.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023
Zach Merrett is named Essendon captain for the 2023 season, with Andy McGrath to serve as vice-captain.

"It is a huge honour to be selected as the next captain of Essendon," Merrett said.

"This is a great club with a great future, and I look forward to playing my role as an on-field and off-field leader. I feel very humble to have been given this opportunity."

Monday, 3 October 2022
After kicking 53 goals, Peter Wright claims the Crichton Medal as Essendon's best and fairest for 2022.

Wright finished on 242 votes, ahead of Zach Merrett, who polled 230 votes.

Sunday, 27 March 2022
Zach Merrett could miss up to two months after suffering an ankle injury against Brisbane. Scans revealed his injury was worse than hoped and will require surgery.
Tuesday, 22 February 2022
Dyson Heppell will captain the Essendon for the sixth straight year in 2022, supported by vice-captain Zach Merrett and deputy vice-captain Andrew McGrath.

Michael Hurley, who was in the four-man leadership group in 2022, has dropped out as he focuses on his return from a hip injury.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Zach Merrett wins his third Crichton Medal as Essendon's best and fairest for the 2021 season.

Merrett polled 420 votes to finish ahead of Darcy Parish (339) and Will Snelling (315).

Thursday, 17 June 2021
Zach Merrett turns his back on free agency to re-sign with Essendon till the end of 2027 in a deal reported to be worth $5 million.
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
Dyson Heppell is named captain of Essendon for another season in 2021 and will be supported by Michael Hurley, Andrew McGrath and Zach Merrett.

"Dyson, Michael, Zach and Andy each possess outstanding work ethic, professionalism and commitment to the Essendon Football Club," Essendo coach Ben Rutten said.

"These players lead by example and are committed to the program's values, so they are each to be congratulated on this achievement."

Friday, 23 October 2020
Following a few high-profile Bombers teammate requesting a trade from the club, Zach Merrett affirms his commitment to the club for 2021.

"I'm very much committed to playing at Essendon next year and I'm confident that with the players we've got and the coaches we've got at the moment we can turn it around reasonably quickly and get back up the ladder," he said.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020
Zach Merrett is among a host of changes to the Bombers' 2020 leadership group, with wantaway forward Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia also cut from the squad.

The complete overhaul will see four fresh faces serve under captain Dyson Heppell in the five-man group this year including Devon Smith, Dylan Shiel, David Zaharakis and Michael Hurley.

"It's just a good opportunity to reflect on your leadership style. I know last year I wasn't in the group but I think my leadership grew throughout the year," Hurley said.

"I saw things slightly differently, became a bit of a conduit for some of the players who weren't in the leadership group and some of the younger players. Zach will find ways to grow. He's a smart young guy, driven, so I think his leadership will continue to grow and we'll see him as a leader in the future."

Tuesday, 1 October 2019
Zach Merrett has capped a fine 2019 season by winning Essendon's best and fairest for the second time, thereby joining exclusive company in becoming a dual Crichton medallist.

Merrett, who turns 24 on Thursday, won the 2019 best and fairest award with 427 votes, from fellow midfielder Dylan Shiel (389) and dashing defender Adam Saad (376).

"He continues to impress us with his attitude and work ethic, never showing complacency but rather wanting to strive to improve all aspects of his game," Essendon coach John Worsfold said of Merrett.

"As we continue to build the chemistry among our midfield group, Zach will continue to provide important leadership through not only our midfield, but across the field next season and beyond."

Wednesday, 23 January 2019
Dyson Heppell will again lead Essendon in 2019 as captain, with the Bombers opting for a smaller leadership group.

Zach Merrett (vice-captain), David Myers, Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia have also retained their places in the leadership group from last season, however key defensive pair Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker have dropped out.

"We feel all five men bring strong and diverse qualities that will ensure the growth of the playing group across a number of values and we hope this resonates on-field too," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

"I'd also like to acknowledge both Cale Hooker and Michael Hurley who are terrific leaders and made a strong contribution to the group last season."

Friday, 18 January 2019
Zach Merrett will spend the next two weeks with his left ankle in a moonboot after suffering a sprain at training.

"Zach suffered the injury during a competitive training drill earlier this morning which was scanned immediately, and subsequently he will be required to wear a moonboot for approximately two weeks," Bombers football manager Dan Richardson said.

"At this point, we don't anticipate the injury will impact Zach's availability for the commencement of the season."

Thursday, 4 October 2018
Less than a year after he left Greater Western Sydney, Devon Smith wins Essendon best and fairest.

Smith 370 votes to beat skipper Dyson Heppell (360 votes) and third-placed Zach Merrett (355 votes).

"To win the Crichton Medal in his first year at the club is an enormous achievement," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

"Devon really delivered on all aspects of the game and went over and above what we expected from him.

"His attitude before arriving at Essendon was outstanding, to ensure his body was right by executing his knee rehab and getting himself in the best position to have a really good pre-season."

Thursday, 5 July 2018
Zach Merrett says he has made adjustments to his game in 2018 season for a greater impact with the ball.

"I've been building and influencing games more so than just getting possessions this year, which has been a big shift and something I've been focusing on as a leader of the club," he said.

"I think I was probably getting a lot of possessions in the back half which, although it set our play up a little bit, I probably was a bit out of play when the ball went forward.

"I've tried to adjust that a little bit and obviously I've played on some really good players at the start of the year that taught me a lot of things."

Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Richard Douglas will miss Thursday night's Grand Final rematch against Richmond after the AFL Tribunal upheld his one-game ban for rough conduct against Bomber Zach Merrett.

The Crows' unsuccessful appeal will cost them a $10,000 penalty.

Friday, 23 March 2018
Zach Merrett takes no further part in Essendon's match against Adelaide following a heavy bump from Crow Richard Douglas.

Merrett left the field dazed and needing to be helped off by medical staff. Douglas was reported for rough conduct in the collision.

Saturday, 10 February 2018
Brendon Goddard chooses not to be part of Essendon's leadership group this season despite being voted in by his peers.

Orazio Fantasia and David Myers have joined captain Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett, Cale Hooker, Joe Daniher and Michael Hurley in the seven-man group.

"It's wonderful to see Dyson voted back in as captain and his leadership style clearly resonates with his teammates," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

"Dyson consistently displays care for his teammates, leads by example and is extremely driven to see this group achieve the success they are striving for."

Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Zach Merrett says he has used the off-season to soak up lessons in professionalism from the game's biggest stars.

Selected to represent Australia during the Virgin Australia International Rules Series against Ireland in November, Merrett was like a sponge around his more credentialed teammates.

"I spent a lot of time with Nat Fyfe, because he sat next to me most of the time," Merrett told SEN radio.

"To pick his brain and work out how he goes about it was great, but I certainly made sure I sat there and didn't say too much.

"I listened to the way (Joel) Selwood and Paddy (Dangerfield) went about their work and tried to take in as much as I could."

Tuesday, 23 May 2017
A brilliant start to 2017 sees Essendon star Zach Merrett in contention for the Brownlow Medal.

The 21-year-old is currently ranked third in the competition for disposals per game.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Dyson Heppell is named Essendon skipper for 2017.

Heppell will be supported by Cale Hooker and Zach Merrett, who have been named vice-captains.

Former skipper Jobe Watson retains a spot in the club's leadership group which will also include Brendon Goddard, Michael Hurley and Joe Daniher.

Its an absolute honour to be named the captain of this great club, Heppell said.

"Jobe (Watson) has been a tremendous captain - hes one of the great leaders of our game, and hes been a wonderful mentor to me over the journey."

Monday, 26 September 2016
Essendon's best and fairest winner Zach Merrett will be tied to the Bombers for at least the next five years after signing a new three-year contract extension.

"I'm really excited about the faith the club has shown in me, and it's great to have secured my future at Essendon for the next five years," Merrett said in a club statement.

"The club is really well placed with (coach) John [Worsfold] at the helm. We have established a really strong culture, and with the inclusion of the 10 boys, we can't wait to get on with business and train hard over the pre-season."

Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett has become the club's youngest best and fairest winner in 35 years after claiming this year's Crichton Medal.

The third-year Bomber was rewarded for his outstanding season by being the runaway winner of his first club best and fairest award with 378 votes, ahead of leading goalkicker Joe Daniher and top-up player James Kelly, who shared second place on 273 votes.

"Zach was our most consistent performer this season and is a deserving winner of the 2016 Crichton Medal," Essendon coach John Worsfold said.

"Zach played some exceptional football this season, and that was built off the back of his professionalism, living elite standards and a hunger to improve and develop with each game."

Monday, 15 August 2016
Zach Merrett caps off a dream debut as captain, leading his young side to their second win of the season.

With Brendon Goddard sidelined with a groin injury, Merrett was given the nod to skipper the club for the first time against Gold Coast, becoming Essendon's third-youngest captain behind Simon Madden and Tim Watson.

In what has been a challenging season for the Bombers, the 20-year-old has been a shining light, averaging close to 30 disposals per game.

And he didn't disappoint in his captaincy debut.

Merrett led from the front with 38 disposals, four clearances and four inside 50s and was among the Bombers' best in their gutsy six-point win over the Suns at Etihad Stadium.

"He generally handles every occasion pretty well," coach John Worsfold said after the win.

"He's a quality young man, very clear on where he wants to go and he was excited about the opportunity and embraced being a leader on-field for the day."

Teammate Martin Gleeson said Merrett's professionalism on and off the field was an inspiration.

"He's pretty quiet but when he speaks everyone listens. When he lifts, everyone lifts around him so he has been great this year," Gleeson said.

"He does everything asked of him and 10 times more. He's first at the club and last to leave and gets around everyone.

"He sets probably the best example at the club and for him to be rewarded with the captaincy this week and to get a win is awesome."

Thursday, 11 August 2016
Zach Merrett will become one of the youngest captains in VFL-AFL history when he skippers Essendon against Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium this week.

Merrett, 20, replaces the injured Brendon Goddard, who suffered a minor groin strain last week.

He will be 20 years and 316 days when he leads out the Bombers.

Saturday, 16 April 2016
Zach Merrett says he has mixed feelings about being elevated into the Bombers' leadership group following bans handed to five of the club's leadership group members.

A month before the bans were announced, Merrett had missed out on making Essendon's leadership group and was disappointed not to be included.

"It was a bit of a weird feeling. To miss out the first time was a little bit disappointing, but to get in the second time was weird knowing that a few guys had been suspended and weren't able to take their place in that leadership group," Merrett said.

"But on the other hand it was exciting and a new experience I wouldn't have if they didn't get suspended. I'm just trying to take it all in and try to grow that part of my game, and to look out more for other people."

Thursday, 24 March 2016
Emerging Bombers Zach Merrett and Joe Daniher have been named in the club's rejigged leadership group, which will feature rotating top-up players throughout the season.

Essendon was forced to change its leadership group when five members captain Jobe Watson, vice-captain Dyson Heppell, David Myers, Cale Hooker and Michael Hurley were suspended for the season for anti-doping breaches.

The remaining two members of the group that was announced in December, Brendon Goddard and Mark Baguley, have taken on the respective captain and vice-captaincy duties this year.

The bans left several vacancies, with Merrett, Daniher and James Gwilt added to leadership positions, and David Zaharakis reinstalled into the leadership group after being cut at the end of last season.

"Obviously development of our youngsters is a bit of a priority this year so it makes sense that we've got a couple of younger players who are held in pretty high regard by the group and they're emerging leaders," Essendon football manager Rob Kerr.

"Given the circumstances and given the exposure to the full leadership repertoire and what's involved in the senior leadership group level will no doubt hold them in good stead and fast-track their progress."

Tuesday, 5 January 2016
Zach Merrett says he has recovered well from a foot stress fracture that affected his 2015 season.

The 20-year-old is back in full training, although he's carefully monitoring his foot for any signs of soreness.

"It's recovered really well. Obviously, it took the last five games away from me last year but it's back on track now, so I'm going really well," he said.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Zach Merrett is in doubt for the remainder of 2015 after being sent for scans on an injured foot.

Merrett complained of soreness in his foot after the loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday and was sent for an MRI that showed he had a significant stress reaction in his foot.

Club doctor Bruce Reid says if a subsequent scan showed a crack in his foot then Merrett would miss the rest of the season.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Zach Merrett inks a three-year contract extension with Essendon that will keep him at the club until the end of 2018.

"My decision to re-sign was based on the fact I believe we have a really tight group who want to achieve success together, we want to play finals and win finals," Merrett said.

"Essendon is where I want to play my footy. We have great coaches and development staff that I believe will provide me with the opportunity to get the best out of myself both on and off the field."

Thursday, 30 April 2015
Zach Merrett says he is learning to be more productive with his time in quest to improve as a footballer.

"I've been criticised by some people for trying to do too much too quickly," Merrett said.

"It's true, and I've probably had to understand that it's about quality over quantity sometimes.

"You look at Gary Ablett and he's the best player in the League and you want to be like him straight away. I'm definitely someone who's a bit impatient at times."

Monday, 2 June 2014
Zach Merrett is named the round 11 rising star nominee after tallying 22 disposals and kicking two classy fourth-quarter goals against Richmond.

"I was pretty nervous before the game with 80,000 people and Dreamtime," Merrett said.

"But it was good to get a few touches and to kick a few goals at the end was nice to finish off. To be Rising Star this round is just extra special."

Merrett says having teammate Dyson Heppell and brother Jackson at the club has been of great benefit to his development.

"I've leaned on Dyson Heppell a fair bit. He's helped me a lot with vision and just pointing me in the right direction," Merrett said.

"Then my brother's (Jackson) been really handy. There's just a lot of questions I ask him at home, it's really good."

Friday, 21 March 2014
Zachary Merrett makes his AFL debut for Essendon at Docklands Stadium with 11 disposals (6 kicks and 5 handballs), 4 marks and 2 tackles in a 39-point win over North Melbourne.
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