ST KILDA leader Jack Newnes is confident he can take his game to a new level after a career-best 2016 season.
A key member of St Kilda's midfield over the past three seasons, Newnes is set to continue with the Saints for another three years, having signed a new two-year deal this week.
The 23-year-old improved significantly in 2016, averaging 23.3 possessions a game – almost three possessions a game more than his previous best season, 2015 – while he also hit the scoreboard more than ever before, kicking 15 goals (the fifth highest tally at St Kilda) and dishing off 13 goal assists (equal fourth).
The former Northern Knight also finished second at the Saints for rebound 50s, third in uncontested possessions, fourth in rebound 50s and seventh in tackles, to finish a career-high fifth in St Kilda's best and fairest award.
It was outstanding season. But Newnes believes he can improve.
"I think each year I've been really taking steps forward. It's been really fun," Newnes said.
"I just want to keep taking my game to the next level, hopefully keep improving along with all the other boys."
Newnes, a member of St Kilda's leadership group since 2015, said he had no hesitation in recommitting to the Saints.
"My manager, Peter Lenton, came to me and gave me the offer from the club. We were pretty happy to sign it straight away, so I'm really excited (to sign) for another couple (of years)," Newnes said.
"I like to get [contracts] out of the way early, it takes a bit of pressure off. I just like to worry about my football.
"I'm happy to lock in for three more years and hopefully we can start something special."
St Kilda chief operating officer Ameet Bains said Newnes shaped as an important player for the Saints over the coming seasons.
"Not only has he become an integral part of our midfield, but he has grown into a wonderful young leader," Bains said.
"The club has been really impressed by Jack's commitment since he first arrived here and his improvement over his first five seasons is testament to the work he puts in.
"At the age of just 23 and with almost 100 games played, Jack's continuing growth will be a critical part of our rise back up the ladder."
Newnes has played 91 games – the last 66 consecutively – since the Saints took him with pick No.37 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft.
He finished sixth in the Saints' best and fairest in his third season, 2014.