Tom Stewart celebrates a goal during the match between the Western Bulldogs and Geelong at Marvel Stadium in round 12, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

GEELONG has locked away one of the competition's best defenders, with Tom Stewart agreeing to a three-year contract extension to stay at the club.

The new deal will keep the 30-year-old at the club until the end of 2027 and should ensure he remains a Cat for life.

Stewart was plucked from the local footy league as a 22-year-old, and has gone on to be one of the Cats' best defenders in recent history.

A two-time Carji Greeves Medal winner (2021, 2023), Stewart has been awarded five All-Australian blazers in just seven AFL seasons (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023) and has been the club's vice-captain since 2022. 

"I am humbled and grateful to the Geelong Football Club for the opportunity to pull on the Hoops week in, week out," Stewart said. 

"Ever since I walked into the Club, everyone has been so supportive of me, and I can't thank the playing group, coaching staff and wider organisation enough for all the time and effort they have not just put into my journey, but to everyone lucky enough to pull on the Hoops.

"The future at the Cats is so bright and to be able to be on that journey with so many exciting young players and experienced heads is something I am really looking forward to and we all can’t wait to crack into 2024 and continue to give our all for this footy club."

Tom Stewart in action during Geelong's clash with St Kilda in round 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Drafted from South Barwon Football Club in the 2016 National Draft with pick No.40, Stewart made his debut in the opening round of the 2017 season, quickly establishing himself as one of the best intercept marking and rebounding defenders in the competition. 

Geelong footy manager Andrew Mackie said the club was thrilled to have Stewart commit long-term. 

"Tom’s resume is a credit to his commitment, his consistency, and his professionalism in his relentless pursuit of excellence since his very first year in the Hoops," he said.

"In recent years he's demonstrated his capacity to unlock the same drive and standards amongst his teammates and has extended his positive influence beyond the football field and into our community."