MELBOURNE has re-signed star forward Jake Melksham for a further three seasons, the club extending the tenure of one of its most important players.
The contract extension will see Melksham, who became a father for the second time this week, stay at the club until the end of 2022.
Melksham has played 42 games for the Demons since moving from Essendon at the end of 2015, becoming an essential part of the club's forward structure.
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"This is my fourth year at the club now and I'm getting to that age bracket where I'm a little bit older, so for them to show that faith and give me another three-year extension is really exciting for both parties," Melksham told melbournefc.com.au.
Melksham said the fact that Melbourne is expected to be a perennial contender over the coming years was an appealing factor in inking a new deal.
"You certainly feel that way when you start to have little bits of success as a group," Melksham said.
"Although we haven't achieved what we want to, from the time I got to the club we’ve improved overall … and improved every year.
"So I think that's something you definitely want to be a part of when you come to work every day as a group of people that are hungry and excited to do what they love."
The 27-year-old booted a career-high 32 goals in 2018 and ranked No.1 in the AFL (including finals games) for goal assists.
Melksham, who welcomed the birth of his son Teddy this week, has not had an ideal preparation going into 2019 after dealing with a hamstring issue.
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But the forward is confident he will be fit to play in round one.
"I'll be back into the main group in the next week or so," he said.
"Obviously not the ideal preparation that I would like but I've been doing a lot of running and fitness work to try to get up to the level.
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"So once I get back into the main group I'll have a five or six week period before round one to get ready.
"I'm looking forward to getting out there with the boys – it's been a long pre-season."