MELBOURNE captain Nathan Jones will remain with the club until at least the end of 2019 after signing a new deal.
The three-time Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy winner, who was contracted until the end of 2015, extended it with another four seasons. Effectively, he has committed to the club for the next five years.
Jones, who will turn 27 years old in January, said he was “really excited” to have his football future secured.
“The AFL landscape has changed in terms of contracts, but for me, I’m committed to the footy club and a long term deal adds security for my family and gives me something to really aim towards – and I’m really excited about that,” he told Dee TV.
“We’re building in the right direction and hopefully when that five years is out, we can see some success and we can see the footy club back in the finals series and winning games consistently.”
Jones acknowledged that it took some time and some “pretty robust” discussions to get it sorted.
“We sat down halfway through last year and had a chat to Peter [Jackson], Roosy and Josh [Mahoney] about the direction of the footy club and beyond the next couple of years,” he said.
“I was able to watch the off-season unfold as it did by bringing in some great talent and then appointing some terrific coaches in Goody (Simon Goodwin) and Brendan McCartney.
“My manager and Josh have been through a bit over the last couple of months and they’ve been really sorting through the terms and conditions of the whole deal. For me, it’s been pretty simple. I’ve just got stuck into training and lead the way with the players and let them take care of the formalities.
“I’m lucky enough to be signed for another five years.”
Although Jones was a free agent at the end of next season, he said he never wanted to leave Melbourne.
“My intention all along was to stay in the red and blue. For me, I’ve been here for a long time now and I’ve been through a fair bit of ups and downs – and a lot of downs … in terms of team success. But I really want to see it through,” he said.
“We’re on the right track now and it’s something I really want to be a part of and make sure I’m leading the way.
“That never really crossed my mind [leaving or exploring free agency]. I was in contract for another season and I was really pleased when the club approached me in terms of trying to renegotiate next year and extend beyond that.
“It was important for me to stay a one club player. It’s the footy club that’s given me a chance and it’s supported me all the way and I’ve been lucky enough to have some real individual success over the last few years. I couldn’t be more driven personally to make the team better and watch my teammates succeed and hopefully still be leading the way.”