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Veteran Bulldog to go around again in 2019

Are you ready for change? Wednesday Footy Feed with Matt Thompson

DEFENDER Matthew Suckling has re-signed with the Western Bulldogs for 2019.

Suckling crossed to the Whitten Oval from Hawthorn as a free agent in October 2015, signing a three-year deal that was due to expire at the end of this season. reported last month Suckling had opened discussions with the Bulldogs about a contract extension despite harbouring long-term ambitions to pursue a punting career in America's NFL.

The club announced on Wednesday afternoon Suckling had agreed to a new one-year deal.

"Matthew is a key member of our group and we're really excited to have secured him for another season," Bulldogs list manager Sam Power said.

"He's had some injuries in the past month, but he was in career-best form this year before that, and we've got no doubt that when he returns he will continue to have a major influence on games this year and going forward.

"As one of our more experienced players, Matt's presence around the club is really important for our young group as they continue to develop as players and people."

The booming left-footer was in strong form in the first half of 2018, but has been sidelined by an Achilles tendon injury since round 11.

Over the first 11 rounds, the dual Hawthorn premiership player averaged 24.5 possessions a game, and at the time led the Bulldogs in running bounces (1.5 a game) and was third in rebound 50s (3.3) and fifth in inside 50s (3.5).

Suckling's initial deal with the Bulldogs netted the Hawks an end-of-second-round compensation pick, which suggested he would have been paid about $400,000 a season to move.

Given he turned 30 on Wednesday, Suckling will almost certainly take a pay cut under his new deal. 

Suckling has played 50 games for the Bulldogs and finished equal seventh in last year's best and fairest award.

He missed the Bulldogs' 2016 premiership after losing his place in the team during the finals through injury.

Suckling played 102 games for the Hawks from 2009-15 and was a member of the 2014-15 premiership teams.

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