MELBOURNE has signed Christian Salem to a new two-year deal, ensuring the exciting youngster will remain in the red and blue until at least the end of 2017.
Last week, AFL.com.au revealed Salem and the Demons were edging closer to agreeing to terms, with the Dees announcing late on Wednesday night the 19-year-old had signed the new contract.
Salem, the No.9 pick in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, said he was thrilled to pen the new deal.
“For me, I didn’t have to worry about it too much,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to the future. I love this club already and I’ve only been here for a year and a bit, so I’m looking forward to the season.
“I think [it was good] to get it out of the way just before the season starts so I don’t have to worry about it at all.
“It’s a good result and there were no long discussions that we had to have – it was pretty quick and pretty sharp. We just got it done.”
Salem played 12 games in his debut year under Paul Roos in 2014 and showed his ability to perform under pressure, highlighted by his match-winning goal against Essendon in round 13.
While the Demons believe Salem will eventually develop into a bonafide midfielder, the skilful left-footer is likely to relocate to half-back in 2015.
Salem said he was relishing his opportunity to play down back.
“I tried it at the start of last year and it didn’t work too well,” he said.
“I went down forward, but this year I really love it.
“The new role opened my game a bit and … I’m trying to grasp as much as I can, but I love it so far.”
Salem said his current pre-season was much better compared to last summer, when he battled illness.
“Last year, I was about seven kilos lighter with that [thyroid] illness and now that I’ve had that full pre-season behind me, I can really not worry about getting my fitness up,” he said.
“I can really concentrate on trying to play some good footy.”