MELBOURNE has secured forward Jack Watts for the next three seasons.
Watts, who is having his best year with the club, will remain in red and blue colours until at least the end of 2019.
The 25-year-old said he was rapt to lock in his new deal.
“It’s been in the works for quite a while and today (Thursday) was the good day for me. My manager [Paul Connors] and Mahns (Josh Mahoney) came to an agreement and [I’m] super happy, so I can’t wait for the next three years,” he told Melbourne TV.
“It’s been a really positive year for the entire club. It’s still really important, these last six weeks, but it’s been a sensational year and that’s why I’m so excited to be here for the next three years.
“You can only see it going up and getting better, so it should be a really bright future for the club.”
Watts, who has played 131 matches since making his AFL debut against Collingwood in round 11, 2009, said it was an easy decision to remain at the club.
“I’ve never had too many doubts about staying here at Melbourne to be honest,” he said.
“When you form such close bonds with everyone here – your teammates, coaching staff and the supporters, who have been with me through everything for the last seven or eight years – it hasn’t been a smooth ride, that’s for sure.
“To have people stick by you and support you all the way, you really want to repay that and I think I’ve taken steps towards that this year. I’m really looking forward to working hard over the next three years to get the best out of myself and the team.”
The No.1 pick in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, who has kicked a career-best 31 goals so far this year, said Melbourne’s coaching group had played a big part in him taking his game to another level this year.
“I think we’ve been very fortunate with the group that we’ve set up behind the scenes,” he said.
“Roosy (Paul Roos) coming along has just saved our club and having Goody (Simon Goodwin), Macca (Brendan McCartney) and Craig Jennings come on board – it’s a different dynamic and the way they see the game is second to none.
“The way they teach the game is second to none and we’ve got such a young team that we’re playing at the moment, but we’re able to compete because we’re getting taught better than anyone else.”
With Watts set to complete his 11th AFL season by the end of 2019 – he will be 28 years old then – he said it would be great to remain a one-club player beyond his new deal.
“It’d be pretty special, wouldn’t it?” he said.
“That journey that we’ve been on together, it hasn’t always been roses and laughter, but I think it’d be a really special thing for me.
“That sense of achievement that we want to get – that would make it so much more special. I haven’t really thought too far [or] long term at the moment, but it’d be great to look back and say that I was a one club player at the oldest club in the history [of the game] and the greatest club in the game. Hopefully we can achieve that.”