‘Unfinished business’ behind massive contract

AFL Rd 5 - Melbourne v Brisbane
Hugh McCluggage has signed a new seven-year deal with the Brisbane Lions. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Hugh McCluggage wants to take care of some “unfinished business” after signing a monster seven-year contract extension to remain with the Brisbane Lions until the end of 2031.

The new deal is reportedly worth close to $1m per season and less than the 26-year-old midfielder would have got elsewhere had he explored free agency.

However, Warrnambool product McCluggage has repaid the Lions for the “faith” they have shown in him.

“I’ve had so many great role models in fellow teammates, coaches and mentors along the way and I hope that I can be that person for the next group of players coming through,” said McCluggage, who was selected with pick three in the 2016 national draft

“I love the bond that all the football department share, with a lot of us having moved away from home to play or work at the Lions.

“I love how far we have come since `Fages’ (coach Chris Fagan) got here and the attitude that we have towards consistently getting better as players and people.

“We have had so many great experiences to learn from and use to get to where we want to be.

“The challenge now is to remain a good club and football team long into the future like the best clubs in the competition are able to do.”

Brisbane Lions Training Session
Hugh McCluggage will remain with the Brisbane Lions until at least 2031. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The “challenge” also includes winning a premiership after losing last season’s grand final by just four points to Collingwood.

“I am proud of the last seven years. It is definitely something I will look back at fondly once I finish my career, but I still feel as though we have unfinished business,” said McCluggage, a Lions co-vice-captain.

“As a team, I think we need to remain consistent and continue to provide a hard working but fun environment for everyone who comes through our club to thrive.

“If we do that, I have no doubt that on-field success will follow.”

Lions football manager Danny Daly said McCluggage was an “outstanding player” and an “exceptional person”.

“It’s been fantastic having Hugh and the entire McCluggage family be part of our Club for the seven years since Hugh was drafted and we couldn’t be happier to have them staying with us for at least another seven years,” Daly said.

“There’s no doubting the club is where it is because of having Hugh help drive the standards and build the culture we have here.

“He is a fantastic leader … and he has all the traits to one day be the captain of the Brisbane Lions.”