Marcus Bontempelli has finally put pen to paper on a new deal with the Western Bulldogs.
The premiership player was not out of contract until the end of next season but negotiations dragged on throughout 2018.
In the end, there was nothing for the clubs’ supporters to worry about – at least not for now.
Bontempelli, who turns 23 this week, has re-signed until the end of 2021 on a contract reportedly worth upwards of $1 million per year.
“I’ve made no secret about the love I have for the club, and how I want to play a key role in the future success of this playing group,” he said.
“I had no hesitation in getting it finalised now, with a year still to go on my contract, so I can concentrate all my energy on playing footy and helping the team.”
The relatively short extension means Bontempelli could enter restricted free agency after the 2021 season.
But there is little doubt the Bulldogs are expecting the potential future captain and two-time club champion to eventually sign on for life.
“Marcus has a great presence on and off the field, he leads by example, he is mature beyond his years and he has so much footy ahead of him,” list boss Sam Power said.
“Finalising the contract extension so early effectively means we’ve secured Marcus for three more years. We’re pleased with how the negotiations were handled by the club and his management team.
“We look forward to seeing Marcus in the red, white and blue for a very long time to come.”
The Bulldogs won eight games in 2018 despite fielding some of the youngest sides in recent memory.
“We have a really talented group of young players, and I’m excited about what they are capable of producing with a bit more experience under their belts,” Bontempelli said.
“We have created a great environment and we have the right program and people in place to take this group to the next level.”