DEFENDER Neville Jetta has shown his commitment to Melbourne, signing until the end of the 2018 season.
The small defender joins Jack Viney, Clayton Oliver, James Harmes, Jayden Hunt, Jeff Garlett and Jake Spencer as players to have re-signed this year.
Jetta, who has become an invaluable member of Melbourne’s back six, said he was excited to continue his career in red and blue.
“I’m definitely excited about the future and I’m glad that the club has stuck by me, especially when the times were a bit tough a few years ago,” he told Melbourne TV.
“I feel like I’ve put a consistent block of footy together over the last few years and I’m definitely playing the best footy I’ve played at this footy club.
“I’m looking forward to the future, especially with the list we’ve got at the moment and with Simon Goodwin coming on board as well – I just can’t wait to get going.”
Jetta has enjoyed an excellent 2016 season to date, averaging 4.5 intercept possessions and 14.3 possessions per game, tracking at a disposal efficiency of 87.1 per cent.
However, the journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the hard-nosed defender.
Originally drafted with Melbourne’s fourth round selection (pick no. 51 overall) in the 2008 draft, Jetta was earmarked as a small forward and had a strong first season, debuting in round one and playing 15 games for the year.
But from there, he struggled to lock down a position in Melbourne’s senior team, with the combination of injury and form seeing him play just 26 AFL games over the next four years.
Delisted at the end of 2013, then re-drafted as a rookie, Jetta took his second chance at AFL football with both hands, reinventing himself as a gritty small defender in 2014 and earning another two years on the club’s senior list.
Since then, he has become a crucial part of Melbourne’s back six, consistently shutting down some of the AFL’s best small forwards while increasingly providing important composure and rebounding from defence.
Jetta’s new contract will take him through to a 10th season at Melbourne, earning him life membership at the club.
The defender said he was proud to repay the club’s loyalty by signing on.
“It’s taking me to 10 years (at the club) which is a life member I think so it’s definitely something I’ll look at after I finish my career,” Jetta said.
“My children bleed red and blue as well so I don’t think they would let me leave if I wanted to.”