GREATER Western Sydney midfield bull Jacob Hopper's career-best season has been rewarded with a fresh two-year contract extension.
The 24-year-old waited until season's end to lock away the deal that will keep him at the Giants until 2023 – a year he becomes a free agent.
"I felt really locked in all year and we were making a real push (to finals) and I committed to taking a breath at the end of the year and doing it," Hopper told AFL.com.au.
"I think everyone was really comfortable with where it was at all year, everyone knew my intention and how I just wanted to play and make a great decision at the end of the year.
"The focus was solely on footy, especially after last year and not making finals for the first time since I've been at the Giants was hugely disappointing. I wanted to make sure we were back playing finals and to make sure I was contributing in a really significant way."
Elevated to the club's leadership group in March, Hopper finished 2021 with a career-high 26.4 disposals and was named in the Therabody AFL All-Australian squad for the first time.
He also looms as the favourite to collect his maiden Kevin Sheedy Medal for the club's best and fairest in the count to be held later this month.
"We've said all year we were really confident Jacob would remain a Giant but it's great to officially confirm it," head of football Jason McCartney said.
"Jacob's had an outstanding season - and that's been recognised across the competition - but he's also added tremendously to his leadership skills as an official member of our leadership group.
Hopper's signature follows the eight-year commitment from Josh Kelly and ensures the midfield unit including Tim Taranto, Stephen Coniglio, Tom Green and Lachie Whitfield is secured until at least 2023.
"To see that and good people, good players willing to be part of it contributes to any decision like this," Hopper said.
"To see the youth and some of the guys step up this year and have breakout years and see younger guys with a want to improve it puts the club in a great spot."
Hopper will undergo surgery to stabilise his left ring finger on Friday afternoon in Melbourne having played with it "popping in and out" in the second half of the season.
The Leeton product doesn't expect the setback to delay his pre-season and will be ready to return for training in December.
His extension leaves the Giants with 12 players out of contract for next year including Jake Riccardi, Daniel Lloyd, Sam Reid, Matthew Flynn, Phil Davis, Zach Sproule and Jake Stein