IN-FORM St Kilda onballer Jack Steele has confirmed his management is in negotiations with the Saints on what looms as a lucrative new contract for him – and he wants to hang around.
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Steele has finished third in the club's best and fairest award in each of the past two years as one of the AFL's top taggers, but he's enjoying one of the best seasons of any midfielder in 2020.
He's sitting fifth in the AFL Coaches' Association AFL Champion Player Award, behind only Brisbane's Lachie Neale – who he could go head to head with on Sunday – Demon Christian Petracca, Port Adelaide's Travis Boak and Magpie Taylor Adams.
With fifth-placed St Kilda finals bound and having already confirmed to AFL.com.au that it's on the hunt for even more midfield depth, the 24-year-old star will be a priority signing.
"They're underway – that's about all I can say, I think," Steele said with a grin about whether contract talks had started.
"I love this club, I like the position we're in and I definitely want to be part of this club for the rest of my career, so hopefully we can get things done."
The ex-Giant requested a trade to the Saints at the end of the 2016 season after being in and out of Greater Western Sydney's senior side in his first two years as an AFL footballer.
Steele has developed steadily since then and he credited new coach Brett Ratten's belief in him, especially in letting him "off the leash" in a more attacking role, for his breakout campaign.
Increased maturity and being just 10 games off playing 100 were other factors, he said.
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"I think it's a bit of everything. I've had that tagging role for the last couple of years, so I've nearly been starved of opportunity, in terms of playing my offensive game," Steele said.
"The fact I've got the tick of approval by the coach now to be able to go out and play football a bit more, that definitely helps."