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Four more years for gun Hawthorn midfielder

Beams ready for Lions, Roos plan for Joe The Footy Feed team with all the latest news

HAWTHORN has rewarded Jaeger O'Meara for his increased durability and outstanding start to the season with a fresh four-year contract.

The 25-year-old West Australian, who is close friends with coveted free agent Stephen Coniglio, is now contracted through the 2023 season.

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O'Meara missed Sunday's loss to St Kilda because of a hip problem sustained the previous week but played 21 games last year and the first three matches of 2019.

He is leading a depleted Hawks midfield this season and has responded with career-best numbers, averaging 28.7 disposals (11 contested), one goal, 7.7 tackles, 6.7 clearances and 5.7 inside 50s.

"He's become such an important player for us, not only through his on-field performance but also from a leadership sense as well," Hawthorn football boss Graham Wright said.

"He sets a great example for his teammates with his professionalism and work ethic. We're excited to watch his continued development over the coming years."

O'Meara joined from Gold Coast on a much-scrutinised three-year deal in 2016, with the Hawks swapping that year's No.10 pick and a future second-round choice for him.

He hadn't played at AFL level in the two seasons preceding the trade because of knee problems, so there was a significant risk at Hawthorn's end.

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Complicating matters, the Hawks offloaded their future first-round pick to the Saints to score the No.10 selection, which was always going to be used for O'Meara.

They also completed a pick swap with Carlton to bring in another 2017 second-round choice to comply with AFL rules regarding trading future selections.

Scrutiny heightened when Hawthorn's subsequent 1-5 start to the 2017 season – which threatened to give St Kilda a very high selection – coincided with O'Meara being sidelined with more knee troubles.

History now shows that the Hawks rebounded to finish in 12th spot that year, and their new star midfielder also returned by season's end, ahead of an impressive 2018 campaign.