Zach was selected by Essendon at pick 26 during the 2013 NAB AFL Draft. After an impressive u18 National Championships with Vic Country as well as impressive football for Melbourne Grammar and TAC CUP team, Sandringham Dragons, Essendon identified Zach as a key target during their recruitment. With elite poise, acceleration and ball-skills, Zach identified himself as a reliable and highly-promising young midfielder. Since debuting in Round 1 of the 2014 season, it can be argued that Zach has been one of the most successful recruits of the past several years. Within his four seasons at Essendon, he has achieved more than most achieve throughout their whole career. Along with his 81 appearances, Zach has displayed outstanding development and in 2016, a time of deep unrest for the club, Zach stood up and gave the Essendon fans plenty of optimism and strength.
In 2016 Zach collected an outstanding 657 possessions for the season, the most a Bombers’ player has ever collected. Furthermore, he went onto collect the club’s Best and Fairest in the same year whilst also captaining the club in the remaining few games of the season. At the age of 20, Zach had already provided so much for the club and was set to further this ahead of the 2017 season when he was named vice-captain. The 2017 season was another huge step forward for Merrett as he played 22 games, averaging 30 disposals and 5.5 tackles a game. Zach was a selected in the All-Australian team after an outstanding season. Furthermore, Merrett finished his 2017 campaign with 15 Brownlow votes whilst he also represented Australia during the International Rules Series against Ireland in late 2017. Zach was named Vice-Captain for Essendon for 2018.
Zach will now look ahead to the 2018 season where he will aim to continue developing his game. Merrett will remain a Bomber until the end of 2021.