Former Essendon speedster Conor McKenna has decided to resume his AFL career with the Brisbane Lions, after returning to Ireland for the past two years and winning an All-Ireland final with Tyrone in 2021.
The Eglish man played 79 games with Essendon between 2015 and 2020, establishing himself as one of the game’s most dangerous running defenders.
McKenna met with the Lions, Port Adelaide, St Kilda and the Bombers before making the call to join fellow Irishman James Madden and former teammate Joe Daniher in Brisbane.
The Lions had been interested in him throughout this season and offered him a deal comparable to the other interested clubs, although sources said one of the other club’s offers contained more guaranteed money than the Lions.
McKenna will complement Daniel Rich off half-back and give emerging defender Darcy Wilmot time to establish himself in the running defender role.
McKenna will join the club via the pre-season supplemental selection period, capping off an excellent exchange period for the Lions after they made the preliminary final last season.
They landed the Bulldogs’ Josh Dunkley, Hawthorn veteran Jack Gunston, and will select father-son prospects Will Ashcroft – who is a possible No.1 selection – and Jaspa Fletcher in the draft.
Meanwhile, the Bombers will begin pre-season on Monday with virtually a full complement of players to pick from with only James Stewart (foot) and Tex Wanganeen (navicular) likely to have a modified start.