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Breakout midfielder extends stay at Dockers

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GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Connor Blakely of the Dockers in action during the 2017 AFL round 14 match between the Geelong Cats and the Fremantle Dockers at Simonds Stadium on June 25, 2017 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Connor Blakely has signed a two-year contract extension

FREMANTLE has locked away one of its key emerging players with Connor Blakely signing on until the end of 2019.

Blakely was due to fall out of contract at the end of the season but has inked a two-year extension.

The 21-year-old has arguably been the Dockers' best young player in 2017, appearing in every game and averaging nearly 24 disposals.

Blakely made a name for himself as a tagger in the early rounds, clamping down on star midfielders Marcus Bontempelli, Nathan Jones, Jack Ziebell and Luke Shuey.

But the Bunbury product showcased his versatility playing across half-back in Sunday's dramatic two-point loss to Geelong, picking up 27 touches and taking seven marks to help Freo almost spring a huge upset.

"We're really excited to sign Connor on, he's a big part of our future," list manager Brad Lloyd said.

"We're really developing a young group and he's a really strong part of that.

"He's young and he's really acquitted himself well so far at AFL level. He's managed to play well in a variety of positions and he's got a strong future ahead of him at the club."

Blakely, who was taken with pick 34 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, forms part of Freo's emerging group aged under 23 who are set to take the rebuilding Dockers forward in years to come.

"I think it was a no-brainer decision," Blakely said of his contract extension.

"I'm from WA and all my friends and family are here. It's a really good lifestyle and I love the club.

"I've formed some great friendship with the boys at the club so it was a decision that wasn't hard at all, so I'm really happy.

"It's a really exciting time at the club and as I said before it was a no-brainer.

"I think we're a young group and when we put it together we've shown that were good enough to take it up to anyone in the competition."

The Dockers fielded their youngest team for the season against the Cats – with five of this year's six debutants taking the field – alongside Lachie Weller, Darcy Tucker and Blakely.

Fremantle's next re-signing efforts – aside from the prized signature of superstar Nat Fyfe – are likely to be focused on emerging talents Harley Balic, Darcy Tucker and Ed Langdon, who are out of contract this year.