ESSENDON livewire Orazio Fantasia has pledged his allegiance to a club he sees as a ‘second home’ for a further two seasons.
Already contracted for next season, the South Australian will feature in the red and black until at least the end of 2021.
“The decision to remain at Essendon was easy. I will always miss my family and friends but Essendon is like my second home, I have been here for five years and to stick around for another three is going to be awesome,” said Fantasia.
“There is an incredible bond between all of the boys, we really care for each other. I am confident we are heading in the right direction as a group.”
“I believe the future of the club is bright, it’s really exciting. If we stick together as a group for the next few years, the possibilities of what we can achieve are endless.”
After kicking 39 goals from 20 games in a breakout 2017, Fantasia has managed just 13 matches this season due to a horror run with injury.
He was taken off in the final term of last week’s win over St Kilda with hamstring tightness before scans confirmed a minor strain.
It is his fourth separate injury this year, having already missed seven matches because of knee, groin and adductor setbacks.
Should the Bombers account for Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night and keep their slim finals hopes alive, Fantasia will be hoping to continue his form in recent returns from injury if he is given the green light to take on Port Adelaide in round 23.
Following his adductor injury in rounds 16 and 17, the 22-year-old returned to boot five goals in the round 18 win over Fremantle.
Fantasia was elevated to the leadership group for the first time this year and senior coach John Worsfold said his attitude and commitment to the club were admirable.
“At only 22 years of age his leadership both on and off the field are outstanding. He consistently demonstrates the values of the Essendon Football Club,” Worsfold said.
“Orazio is an exciting young player for the club. His willingness to learn gives me a lot of confidence in what we can achieve.”
“He is an outstanding role model and leader, and we are excited to have him at the club for a further three years.”
Fantasia has played 60 games for Essendon since being taken with pick 55 at the 2013 National Draft.