McNiece was signed as the Bombers’ inaugural Next Generation Academy player. The 178cm defender was eligible as a Category B Rookie for the position on the Club’s list as his mother was born in India. He had spent several seasons with Essendon’s VFL side. McNiece was named Essendon VFL’s Best First Year player in 2015 and finished third in the Best and Fairest in 2016. In 16 games last season, the Vice-Captain averaged 16 possessions as he lined up in defence opposed to the most dangerous opposition small forward.
Essendon List and Recruiting Manager Adrian Dodoro says:
“We are really pleased to have finalised our list for the 2017 season, and Ben’s addition provides us with another small defensive option. Ben has an elite left kick, and he has a super competitive nature which allows him to win a lot of contested possessions. He has shown he is capable of shutting down some of the state league’s best small forwards and will continue to play an important role for us this season.”
Draft History: 2016 Category B Rookie Selection