MELBOURNE has locked in midfielder Christian Petracca for an additional two years, with the Demon signing a contract extension on Tuesday afternoon.

The 24-year-old, whose previous contract was set to expire at the end of the season, will now remain in the red and blue until at least the end of 2022.

Discussions between Petracca and the club began prior to Christmas and he couldn’t be happier to have now signed on with the team he loves.

“I’m very, very excited,” Petracca told Melbourne Media.

“I guess the contract talks started a while ago now.

“I sat down with Goody (Simon Goodwin), Tim Lamb (list manager) and my manager, and I’ve always wanted to be at the club so to sign on for another two years is an amazing feeling.

“I’ve got so many mates here – they’re my closest mates.

“I see them every day and I probably annoy the hell out of them but I’m just so grateful to be a part of such a great group.

“I can call so many guys my brothers and mates for life.”

While securing Petracca’s signature is a relief for Dees’ fans, he was never worried about when the agreement would be made.

“I think signing before the season just takes a little bit of stress off me and I’m honestly just very excited,” he said.

“Whether I signed now or at the end of the year, I always wanted to stay at the club.”

Petracca, who came fifth in the club’s Best and Fairest Award last year, made a strong start to 2020 with 38 disposals and three goals in Saturday’s Marsh Community Series clash with Adelaide.

The former No.2 draft pick is well placed leading into Round 1, and confident with the group’s position after a disappointing 2019 campaign.

“I’m just mentally really excited to attack the year,” he said.

“I think the club has changed a lot since last year in terms of putting our strengths on show and allowing us boys to go out and play.

“Just the whole culture in the last 18 months has developed heaps as well, so I’m just excited to start the year and be on for another two years.”

Petracca is expected to play a valuable role in the centre this season, and GM of Football Operations Josh Mahoney is looking forward to watching him perfect his craft.

“Christian is a passionate Melbourne person who we have watched develop each year and we are delighted that he has agreed to this extension prior to the season,” Mahoney told Melbourne Media.

“He’s an exciting young player who can play a valuable role though our midfield or forward.

“We look forward to watching him continue to improve, along with the rest of our playing group.”