IT'S ALL about the kids at Hawthorn and the Hawks received a huge boost on that front on Monday with the news that emerging star Ryan Burton has re-signed until the end of 2020.

The 20-year-old has played every game since round two and his outstanding form in the backline has led to him becoming the favourite for the NAB AFL Rising Star Award.

Burton is averaging 21 disposals, five marks and three tackles a game, playing as both a small and tall defender and his composure and class coming out of the backline has been a feature.

His two running goals from the 50-metre arc helped the Hawks to a memorable win over Adelaide in round 14.

The Hawks selected the South Australian with the 19th pick overall at the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, despite not playing at all that year because of a shocking leg injury. The club last year extended his contract by a year based on a couple of VFL games but now he figures to be a long-term Hawk and a player that coach Alastair Clarkson and list manager Graham Wright can continue their list rebuild around.

"Both Ryan and the club were eager to secure his future at Hawthorn and we are rapt to have extended his contract for a further two years," Wright told

"He has been in terrific form this season and has really cemented his spot in the backline, with the ability to play on a variety of talls and smalls. 

"To have Ryan committed to the Hawks until at least 2020 is really pleasing for the club and we look forward to seeing him in the No.5 for many years to come." 

Burton said he was relishing his time at Hawthorn and enjoying the chance to learn off the soon-to-be-retired champion Luke Hodge.

"For me, I'm just trying to enjoy the last few weeks with 'Hodgey' and trying to learn as much as I can from him," he said.

"I feel like we're a totally different team from the first four rounds of the season."

"We're playing more consistent footy, and we’re just trying to keep building that continuity within the playing group."