Dustin Fletcher
Dustin Fletcher

Essendon veteran Dustin Fletcher will play on for a 21st season in 2013 after signing a one-year contract with the Bombers.

The evergreen defender announced his decision to club officials and is set to climb even higher than seventh on the list of most games played for a VFL/AFL player.

The 37-year-old has a staggering 365 games to his name after debuting in 1993 and has lost none of his consistency after finishing third in the club's best and fairest count this year.

An uninterrupted season would see Fletcher surpass the likes of Bernie Quinlan (366), Craig Bradley (375), Simon Madden (378) and Robert Harvey (383) into third on the games list.

The decision came after running laps of Windy Hill oval just days after the 2012 season had finished according to Fletcher.

"I'm still really enjoying my footy and I think that was the key to playing on next season," Fletcher said.

"To come in and work with 40 blokes who are all mates of mine and all love their footy, you couldn't ask for a better job.

"The old body feels good, I've still got a bit of pace and I'm sure Hirdy (coach James Hird) will go easy on me at training."

Hird said he had no doubts about Fletcher's ability to continue on and left the decision purely in his hands.

"We always said the call to play on would be up to Fletch, and I'm glad he is (playing on)," Hird said.

"He's a terrific competitor, he listens to his body, prepares well and I wish he had another 350 games in him."


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