Main content

Dees lock in key forward with four-year deal

Dimma defends Rance, Dee locked in Nat Edwards and Jennifer Phelan with all the latest news
Tom McDonald will stay a Dee until at least the end of 2022 - AFL,Melbourne Demons,Contracts,Tom McDonald
Tom McDonald will stay a Dee until at least the end of 2022

TOM McDonald is off the free agency market after re-signing with Melbourne for four more years.

The in-form big man was due to become a restricted free agent at the end of this year but is now tied to the Dees until the end of 2022.

McDonald said he was seeking a deal of a "minimum of three to four years", to avoid having to renegotiate again in the near future after signing two-year extensions in the past. 

"It was a big decision, because it's probably the first time that it's been a long-term deal to sign with the club and it's probably the biggest decision in terms of my professional career that I've made," McDonald said on Tuesday.

"It wasn't one you take lightly, which is probably why it's taken until mid-season.

"In the end, I really wanted to play for Melbourne. We've negotiated a deal we think is fair for both sides and we've come out really happy, and I get to play for the footy club for another four years at least and hopefully longer." 

McDonald said there had been no rival offers put to him "officially" and was comfortable with signing mid-year before any approaches could be properly made.

The 25-year-old has become one of Melbourne's most important players, kicking 19 goals in six games this year.

Last week he booted four goals from 24 disposals and 11 marks in Melbourne's win over the Western Bulldogs.

McDonald last year moved from defence to the forward line when Jesse Hogan was unavailable and booted 23 goals for the season.

He said his recent form was a small factor in how negotiations played out. 

"It was probably a bit of finding how I'd go in a new role, for myself as well as the footy club," he said.

"I wanted to see how I'd do that and the club wanted to see I could play that role for the team. 

"Hopefully we're both happy with that result and that was part of it, but it wasn't the be all and end all either."

He overcame a foot injury over the pre-season to return to Melbourne's line-up against the Bombers in round six and has kicked multiple goals in each of his games this season – all of which have been Demon wins. 

McDonald's signature will intensify the scrutiny on other high profile free agents such as Gold Coast's Tom Lynch and Adelaide midfielder Rory Sloane, who are unlikely to make a decision on their futures until later in the season. 

It also shows the belief McDonald has the Demons and their turnaround in form as a team.

"I've had confidence in the last couple of years that we're going in the right direction," he said.

"Probably the first four or five years of my career we weren't and you're probably just re-signing hoping that things were going the right way.

"Now you know that things are going the right way … I've got the best view of it internally, that things are going in the right direction and we've got the right people in the right places to take the club forward.

"The players have been the last step in that process and I think we've got the right players to be able to challenge going forward." 

The Dees face Collingwood at the MCG on Monday in the annual Queen's Birthday clash. 

McDonald isn't expecting to return to defence despite the loss of Jake Lever to a long-term knee injury and believes the former Crow's replacement will come from the VFL.