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Hogan '50-50' before re-signing with Demons

Chris Pike and Roger Vaughan, AAP  October 4, 2016 6:58 PM

Hogan signs, Hartlett's visit, Bartel shaves Nat Edwards with all the latest news

GUN WEST Australian forward Jesse Hogan has admitted he was "50-50" on staying with Melbourne before agreeing to a two-year contract extension.

By not signing a longer-term agreement, last year's NAB AFL Rising Star winner has kept his options open and could return home in three years.

However, Hogan said after Tuesday's announcement that he was more comfortable about staying in Melbourne. 

When whispers started that Hogan was homesick, he suddenly appeared to be Fremantle's answer to retired legend Matthew Pavlich in the Dockers' forward line from 2018 onwards.

The 21-year-old was contracted to Melbourne to the end of next season before the extension. 

After leaning at one point to returning home, it was a chat with new Demons coach Simon Goodwin and development coach Brendan McCartney that helped Hogan seal the deal.

"If there was a time for me to come home, it was going to be now ... homesickness was probably half the battle, but I really do enjoy Melbourne and love living there. I don't think it will be an issue now," Hogan said in Perth. 

"My thoughts wavered and, as a footballer, some weeks are easier than others.

"It got to about 50-50, which was the worst it got but, as the year went on, it became more clear to me that I wanted to stay.

"'Goody' (Goodwin) sat me down at the end of the year and we had a really good chat along with Brendan McCartney. After about two weeks, it became pretty clear I wanted to stay at Melbourne."

Speculation about Hogan's future also grew when it emerged in February that he and the Demons had put their contract talks on hold.

Now, Hogan has another three years of AFL development and will also have a strong idea by the end of 2019 about how Melbourne are faring. 

The 21-year-old has played 41 senior games since his debut last year and is one of the keys to the Demons' immediate future. 

Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney admitted relief that the deal was done.

"We were pretty confident the whole way through. All the conversations we had with Jesse, that he was happy with the environment, that he can see the talented list we were building together and he'd want to stay long term," Mahoney told SEN radio. 

"But it's always good to get the signature."

While Hogan's form faded in the last five regular-season games, he was still the leading Melbourne goalkicker this season with 41.

"Key forwards are really hard to find and, once you find one, you have to make sure they stay for as long as you can," Mahoney said. 

"You build teams around them."

Hogan admitted that talk over his future weighed him down at times.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't in the back of my mind, but I can't say it was too much of a contributing factor to my form ... I was a bit inconsistent," Hogan said.