LUKE Hodge will play on at Hawthorn until the end of 2015 after satisfying a trigger clause guaranteeing him another season.
Hodge was set to become a free agent at the end of next season after re-signing with the Hawks for 2014 in April.
But AFL.com.au understands the Hawthorn skipper's strong 2013 season, when he finished fifth in the club's best and fairest award and played 23 games, automatically earned him another season at the Hawks.
Hawthorn declined to comment on Hodge's contractual status when contacted last week, but it is understood his name will not appear on the AFL's official list of 2014 free agents when it is released before the start of next season.
After a stressful year dealing with free agency in 2013, the Hawks look set for a far more relaxing time next year.
Along with West Coast, Hawthorn had the most free agents of any team entering the 2013 season, with seven.
The Hawks' season-long battle to hang onto spearhead Lance Franklin attracted most of this year's free agency headlines, but they also ended up losing Xavier Ellis to West Coast.
But in 2014 the Hawks will have just two free agents on their list - former skipper Sam Mitchell and midfielder Brad Sewell.
Since reaching veteran status, Mitchell, 31, has been content to re-sign with the Hawks on a year-by-year basis.
The prospect of the former skipper exploring free agency seems as likely as Tom Hafey missing a morning workout. Sewell, meanwhile, will play on at Hawthorn in 2015 if he satisfies a trigger clause in his contract.
David Hale and Luke Hodge celebrate last year's premiership win against Fremantle. Picture: AFL Media
Since AFL.com.au released a list of 2014's highest-profile free agents in June, their clubs have been working overtime to keep them out of opposition hands.
North Melbourne has re-signed Lindsay Thomas, while St Kilda pair Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna and West Coast's Matt Priddis have also penned new deals.
Other clubs opted to trade prospective 2014 free agents in October's player exchange period, with Geelong trading Trent West to the Brisbane Lions and Carlton sending Shaun Hampson to Richmond.