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Talented Demon pair locked in with new deals

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24: Billy Stretch of the Demons celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 14 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Melbourne Demons at Domain Stadium on June 24, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Billy Stretch has extended his contract with the Demons

MELBOURNE has re-signed emerging midfielder Billy Stretch until the end of 2019, while mature-aged forward Tim Smith has been locked in for a further season. 

Smith will be tied to the Demons until the end of 2018, after signing a one-year extension.

Stretch, 20, is considered one of the most professional players on Melbourne's list and continues to take significant strides on and off the field.

The midfielder has played eight senior matches this season, but has performed strongly when playing in the VFL.

"We’ve been pleased with Billy’s continued development this year,” Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney told melbournefc.com.au.

"He’s the ultimate professional off the field and he prepares himself very well every week. 

"We think he’s building the habits to be a very good long-term player."

Stretch, the son of former Melbourne wingman and 1987 club best and fairest winner Steven, has played 35 games for the Demons since being selected as a father-son draftee with pick No.42 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft. 

Smith has had a tough start to his AFL career after suffering a significant rib injury in just his second match against Richmond in round five, after being elevated from the rookie list. 

In his second game after returning from five weeks on the sidelines, Smith sustained a season-ending navicular foot injury.

Mahoney said the club was keen to reward Smith's persistence with a new deal. 

"After working hard to get his opportunity at AFL level, Tim has had an injury-interrupted season. We feel that Tim deserves another opportunity to show what he can do," Mahoney told melbournefc.com.au.

"He has been rewarded with another one-year extension to his rookie contract. This gives Tim the assurance that he'll be on our list next year and he can focus his attention on rehabilitating his current foot injury and prepare himself for a strong season, leading into 2018."