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Roos would be 'staggered' if Tom McDonald leaves

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Tom McDonald of the Demons runs with the ball during the 2016 AFL Round 06 match between the Melbourne Demons and the St Kilda Saints at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on April 30, 2016. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Tom McDonald is out of contract at season's end
So I would be staggered if that doesn't get sorted out sooner rather than later
Paul Roos

MELBOURNE coach Paul Roos would be "staggered" if out-of-contract defender Tom McDonald doesn't re-sign with the club.

The talented key backman and emerging superstar Jesse Hogan shape as the most important players for the developing Demons to tie down, as they build towards a return to finals for the first time since 2006.

Melbourne has already locked away rising midfield stars Jack Viney (2020), Clayton Oliver (2019), Angus Brayshaw (2018) and Christian Petracca (2018), but the club is keen to secure its key position stocks.

While Hogan still has until the end of 2017 to run on his current deal, McDonald's contract expires at the end of this season.

But Roos is confident the 23-year-old will recommit with the Dees' future looking bright.

"I have a little bit to do with it (contract negotiations), but not a lot. I think the encouraging thing is we've seen a lot of our players are re-signing and committing to the club," Roos said.

"Everyone has different circumstances and situations, as Tom does to some of the guys that have signed.

"I'd be staggered to think he didn't sign with the club. He's in our leadership group, he seems really committed, he seems to enjoy coming in every single day.

"So I would be staggered if that doesn't get sorted out sooner rather than later."

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McDonald said in March that a deal was "not anywhere near finalised" but added that his manager and the club were always talking, while he dismissed suggestions he would only re-sign if Hogan recommitted.

"Jesse's contract is totally separate to mine. I'm not going to say Jesse's (contract) got to get done or I'm not signing," McDonald said.

"As much I'd love Jesse to be signing … it's not really my role to be asking him when he's going to be getting it done."

McDonald has played 91 games with the Dees since he was drafted with pick 53 overall in 2010.

The 194cm big man finished third in the best-and-fairest in 2012 and last year was in All Australian discussions after combining shutdown roles with a more attacking element of his game.

McDonald is ranked second at the club for rebound 50s (four per game) and third for marks (6.3) this year in a different defensive system implemented as part of a more aggressive game style.