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Demons lock in four youngsters to new deals

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 21: Billy Stretch (left) and Alex Neal-Bullen of the Demons sing the team song after the 2015 AFL round twelve match between the Geelong Cats and the Melbourne Demons at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on June 21, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Alex Neal-Bullen and Billy Stretch celebrate their first win together

MELBOURNE has continued to show faith in the development of its young talent, re-signing Alex Neal-Bullen and Billy Stretch until the end of 2017.

The Demons have also retained developing pair Mitch White and Max King on the rookie list for the 2016 season.

Neal-Bullen (pick No.40 in last year's draft) and Stretch (No.42) showed their potential in 11 games throughout 2015.

"Alex and Billy have adapted really quickly to the demands of being AFL players," Melbourne football operations boss Josh Mahoney told the club's website.

"Both of them were able to play 11 AFL games in their first year and with a full pre-season leading into next year and the year after, we think they’re going to continue to develop into good AFL players."

Neal-Bullen and Stretch were already contracted until the end of 2016 as part of their mandatory two-year draftee contracts, with the extension adding an extra year.

White made his AFL debut in the final game of the season after racking up plenty of possessions for the Casey Scorpions in the VFL.

King, who stands 200cm and has a reputation for being quite athletic for his height, is yet to make his debut.

"Mitch and Max showed some good signs throughout the year," Mahoney said.

"Mitch worked his way into the AFL team in the last round and didn't look out of place. Max has always been a long-term project and he continues to develop at Casey.

"They have both accepted additional years on their rookie contracts."

The Demons have star young forward Jesse Hogan locked away until the end of the 2017 season. 

Top draft picks Angus Brayshaw and Christian Petracca both re-signed with the club, until the end of 2017 and 2018 respectively.