NORTH Melbourne has reaffirmed its faith in injury-plagued defender Ed Vickers-Willis, re-signing the 22-year-old until the end of 2020.
Vickers-Willis had been due to come out of contract at the end of this season, but this week re-signed with the Kangaroos for two more years.
The 190cm defender had been one of the Roos' most improved players over the first seven rounds of this season, showcasing an ability to play on smalls and talls and an increasing confidence to fly for his marks.
But his season ended abruptly in North's round seven win over Sydney, when he crashed into a behind post and injured his right posterior cruciate ligament.
It was a bitter blow, especially after Vickers-Willis had missed the second half of last season with an injury to the same ligament, while shoulder injuries delayed his debut until his third season at Arden St, in round five last year.
Vickers-Willis told NMFC.com the faith North had shown in re-signing him had been a huge boost as he eyed an on-field return in 2019.
"(Contract discussions] were put on hold when I did my knee, but over the last few weeks we've been able to get it done and (it was a) pretty easy process," Vickers-Willis said.
"It's a pretty difficult time having been injured quite a few times, and especially this one.
"(I was) just starting to get some continuity at AFL level so I can't be thankful enough of the club just to put that faith in me that they know I can get back out there and play some good footy over the coming years.
"I really want to thank them for that."
Vickers-Willis said it was exciting to be part of a North list that had defied expectations to sit inside the top eight after 2018's opening 13 rounds.
The Kangaroos had been widely tipped to finish last this year, but at 7-5 are well placed to return to the finals after a year's absence.
Vickers-Willis was confident North's stellar form was a sign of things to come over the next few years.
"I really enjoyed playing footy late last year and this year, and I think what we're building over the coming years and the rest of this year is just something you want to be a part of," he said.
"There's some talent coming through in the VFL that we haven't seen at AFL level yet and it's even more exciting."
The former Sandringham Dragon has played 14 senior games in his four seasons at Arden St.