FOUNDATION Suns Trent McKenzie and Matt Shaw have re-signed with Gold Coast until the end of 2017.
McKenzie, 22, and Shaw, 23, were both among Gold Coast's first player signings at the end of 2009 as two of the expansion club's 12 17-year-old access selections.
McKenzie and Shaw were both due to come out of contract at the end of this season, but Gold Coast announced at its AFL Open Day at Metricon Stadium on Saturday they had both signed new two-year deals.
The defenders were both recruited from Victoria, McKenzie from the Western Jets and Shaw from the Dandenong Stingrays.
Shaw told AFL.com.au it was an "absolute honour" to re-sign with the Suns.
"I love the lifestyle up here, it suits me to a tee. I've holidayed up here since I was a young kid, so I've never really thought about heading home," Shaw said.
"It's such a good group of boys up here as well. I love being around them, everyone is around the same age group and everyone really gets each other, so it's a big family up here, which is awesome."
Shaw and McKenzie were part of the Suns' team that played in the VFL in 2010 ahead of the club's entry into the AFL the following year, and have since seen the club stockpile a mountain of elite young draftees that's only ever been rivalled by its expansion sibling, Greater Western Sydney.
Shaw said the next few years should be exciting for the Suns provided they could continue the "team-first attitude" that had enveloped the club this pre-season.
"All the boys are really mature now and have matured really well," Shaw said.
"Our tall boys took a bit of time to develop, but now they're really starting to hit the peak of their powers. You can see Tom Lynch, Steven May and all of those guys are starting to really hold their own against the big men of the AFL.
"Hopefully everyone else can pull their weight as well, as I'm sure they will, and we can work together to pull each other through, work on our weaknesses and build towards some success."
McKenzie quickly made an impression in his debut season, 2011, wowing footy fans with his booming left foot as he finished equal 10th in Gold Coast's inaugural best and fairest award, was nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star Award and represented Australia in that year's International Rules Series.
The 191cm backman was exposed early in his career in one-on-one marking contests, but has since got a lot stronger and smarter and is now entrenched as a key member of the Suns' backline.
McKenzie has finished in the top 10 of Gold Coast's best and fairest count twice, with his best finish ninth in 2013.
Last season, he led the Suns for rebound 50s (87), was third for marks (90) and one-percenters (79), and sixth for kicks (227).
Along with his skipper Gary Ablett, McKenzie has played the second-most games at the Suns (76), behind Jarrod Harbrow (78).
Shaw is seventh on the Suns' game list (72), having played predominantly across half-back and on the wing in the past four seasons.
Shaw, 187cm, looked to have cemented a spot in the Suns' senior team when he averaged 19 possessions in 18 games in 2013, but he struggled for consistency last year and was dropped twice and started as a substitute in three games.
Nonetheless, he still finished equal fourth at the Suns for bounces (14) in 2014, was eighth for uncontested possessions (216) and 10th for goal assists (8).
His rare mix of speed and endurance, and his preparedness to take the game on, means he remains one of the Suns' most damaging line-breakers.
Shaw has enjoyed another solid pre-season this year and has focused on getting stronger so he can add more of an inside edge to his game.
As for the upcoming season, Shaw has a simple goal.
"I just want to be a consistent player who gives effort week in week out so the boys know what they're going to get from me," he says.
"Hopefully, that will keep me in the side this year."
Just five of the Suns' 17-year-old concession picks remain at the club. Apart from McKenzie and Shaw, they are Brandon Matera, Tom Nicholls and Luke Russell.