Having tested the market, Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer has given Brendon Bolton’s rebuild a shot in the arm by signing a new deal with the AFL club.
Kreuzer, 26, is a restricted free agent and had attracted interest from rival clubs, most notably Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs, but put pen to paper on a new two-year deal on Friday that will keep him at the Blues until the end of the 2017 season.
“There are good times ahead for us and I want to be a big part of restoring us as a successful club,” Kreuzer said in a statement.
“Although this has been a challenging year for the club, I’m confident that the club’s plan, along with a lot of hard work and sacrifice from everyone, will take us to where we all want to be in time.
“I’m really excited to be part of it.”
Kreuzer has struggled to overcome injuries in recent seasons, with his chief concern being stress fractures in his foot that still has a plate in it from a surgical repair.
After playing just one game in 2014, the former No.1 draft pick managed 13 this season after returning for the Blues in round 10.
“This year, I was able to get back and show what I am capable of as a player,” he said.
“I feel like I have even more to give and I look forward to getting the opportunity to show this under Brendon Bolton’s coaching.”
Carlton, who finished last this year, are about to embark on an extensive rebuild of their list.
Lachie Henderson and Chris Yarran have already signalled their intentions to leave, allowing the club to stockpile draft picks, but the Blues are delighted to hang onto Kreuzer, who is a popular figure with teammates and fans.
“Matthew is heart and soul, and we are rapt that we’ve got the deal done,” football chief Andrew McKay said.
“We really value his experience and leadership; this year, in particular, he has got some continuity back in his game, and shown the world how much of a talent he really is.
“Our strategy to grow and develop our list has been about getting the right people in the right places. Re-signing Matthew is another step in the right direction.”