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Big men sign on for 2018 season

Matt Burgan  August 18, 2017 4:22 PM

His (Pedersen) attitude to coming here and playing whatever role we need him to play has had a big influence on us and he’s earned another year

MELBOURNE has re-signed big men Cam Pedersen and Declan Keilty for the 2018 season.

General manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said Pedersen and Keilty were important additions for next year’s list.

“Cam’s been able to play a number of roles for us this year and has been rewarded with a new one-year contract,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“He’s been important for us this year, due to some of the injuries we’ve had, particularly to our tall forwards and ruckmen.

“His attitude to coming here and playing whatever role we need him to play has had a big influence on us and he’s earned another year.”

Pedersen, who has arguably had his finest AFL season this year, has stepped up in the absence of higher profile teammates such as Max Gawn in the ruck and Jesse Hogan up forward.

Last round against St Kilda, he was one of Melbourne’s best, with a career-high 26 disposals and two goals.

Pedersen has played 74 AFL matches since making his debut for North Melbourne against West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium in round one, 2011. After playing 16 games with the Kangaroos from 2011-12, he crossed to Melbourne via the 2012 trade period.

Since playing his first game for Melbourne against Port Adelaide in round one, 2013, Pedersen has played 58 matches. His best return so far has been 19 games in 2014, and he will be lining up for his 14th appearance this year against the Brisbane Lions at the MCG on Sunday.

Mahoney said Keilty had progressed strongly in recent times, after being selected at No.41 in last November’s NAB AFL Rookie Draft.  

“Declan came onto our rookie list after a couple of solid years at Casey Demons,” he said.

“We’ve been happy with his development throughout the year, particularly his past four to six weeks – his form at Casey has been very good.

“He’s been rewarded with another year on the rookie list and we look forward to his continued development as a key defender/versatile tall.”

Keilty, who has yet to play an AFL game, but earned praise for his recent efforts from coach Simon Goodwin post-match against the Saints.  

Last weekend, Casey coach Justin Plapp said Keilty played his best game for Casey.

Keilty had 22 disposals and took 11 marks, including eight contested grabs, to be one of his side’s best in its win over Sandringham.