JACKSON Thurlow has been rewarded for his impressive start to 2015 with a new three-year deal at Geelong
Thurlow was set to come out of contract at the end of this season, but AFL.com.au understands he has re-signed with the Cats to the end of 2018.
Geelong's first pick in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft at No.16 overall, Thurlow struggled to break into the Cats' side in his first two seasons, playing a total of 10 games.
But the 21-year-old has not missed a game since earning a recall in round three this season.
Allowed to settle in defence after being used in multiple positions previously, Thurlow has become one of Geelong's chief playmakers in its back half.
He is now entrusted with the Cats' kick-in duties more often than not, given his elite foot skills and sound decision-making.
In 10 consecutive games, Thurlow has averaged 18.7 possessions at 81.8 per cent efficiency, and is ranked second at Geelong for average rebound 50s (four a game).
The Tasmanian's form is even more impressive considering his 2015 pre-season was severely disrupted after he suffered a lacerated kidney in a competitive drill last December.
Although he avoided surgery, Thurlow did not return to Geelong until February and only resumed full training in April.
Thurlow told AFL.com.au in June that playing permanently in defence had helped boost his confidence this season.
"It is good to know each week where I am going to be playing, what my role is in that position and really go from there," Thurlow said.
"It is good to feel really a part of it and feel like you belong there, but I don't think anything is really certain.
"[I'm] making each week a challenge to really perform and play my role well and hopefully I can hold my spot from there."
Thurlow was named in the under-18 All Australian team in 2012 after averaging 25 disposals a game for Tasmania in the NAB AFL Championships.