Chapman happy and ready to soar

Paul Chapman knows that despite three premierships and a Norm Smith Medal, the football cynics are now looking more closely at some different numbers, namely those on his birth certificate and in the ''games played'' column in his 2013 statistical breakdown.

At 32 and having appeared just eight times for Geelong this year after a hamstring injury that kept him out for more than half the season, some are viewing Essendon's big-name signing as a considerable risk.

But in his first week at his new club, the match-winning forward-midfielder is feeling pretty confident about silencing the doubters.

''It's easy to do that, [to] just look at the previous year and say he was injured last year so what's going to happen for next year?'' Chapman said on Wednesday. ''I've been pretty durable. I've played 14 seasons and 250 games, so I can handle the demands of AFL footy.

''People say: 'Is it a punt?' Have they taken a punt drafting me? I don't think it is a punt at all. I don't really have much to prove, but I'm confident in my body, and I'm glad that the Bombers were confident in me and my body as well.''

The figures back up Chapman's claims about durability, too. In three completed seasons before 2013, he'd missed just five of a possible 73 Geelong games.

''I wouldn't have wanted to continue playing if I didn't think I had something to give or could contribute,'' he said. ''That was never an issue for me at all. It was just whether other clubs thought I'd be able to last seasons out, and I believed that I could. I know I can, and I know that the Bombers have faith in me.''

And having come to grips with the end of a sterling career at Skilled Stadium, Chapman is not only intent on forging one as impressive in the red-and-black, but embracing change off the field as well. ''It would have been a fairytale, I suppose, to be a one-club player, but now that I'm here, I'm really positive about a fresh start,'' he said. ''I'm not living in Geelong anymore, I'm living in Melbourne, I've got a child on the way [due in seven weeks]. Everything's changing … it's just very exciting.

''I'm still hungry. I want another premiership, and I believe the Bombers aren't too far away … They've got a bit of heart and soul about them, they want to win. They've got a lot of good players at this football club, and I thought I'd fit in well.''

Essendon has handed Chapman the No.3 guernsey for 2014, a number made famous for the club by triple Brownlow medallist and club legend Dick Reynolds, and in more recent times by dual premiership forward Paul Salmon. ''I didn't know of any numbers that were available, so when three was handed out … obviously there have been at least two greats that have worn it in the past,'' he said. ''I'm very happy to wear No.3. It's something different, a fresh start, new colours, new number.''

Essendon allocated its numbers for next season earlier this week. Defender Mark Baguley will move to No.12, with small forward Cory Dell'Olio now wearing No.29.

Of the Bombers' other recruits, Shaun Edwards will wear No.19, Zach Merrett No.27, Kurt Aylett No.43, Orazio Fantasia No.46, Fraser Thurlow No.44, Johnny Rayner No.45 and Patrick Ambrose No.47.

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