Adelaide onballer Brad Crouch has signed a four-year contract extension, spurning interest from interstate clubs.
The 22-year-old Victorian had been linked to several Melbourne-based clubs, including Hawthorn, but instead signed a new deal with the Crows believed to be worth about $2.2 million.
“Brad’s attack on the footy is something that we really value, along with his ability to win the ball inside and outside the contest,” Crows coach Don Pyke said on Friday.
“He’s an important part of our midfield group and a player that will continue to improve with the work he does on and off the field and with further games experience.”
The explosive midfielder, who gathered a season-best 34-touches in Adelaide’s 138-point flogging of Brisbane on Saturday, is considered a key figure in the Crows’ midfield plans following the departure of Patrick Dangerfield.
Crouch missed games early in the season with a hamstring injury and was dropped to the SANFL after struggling for form but has since strung together seven consecutive games and played some of his best football.
The Crows’ on-field success this year has helped them retain a number of quality players, including forward Josh Jenkins who last month inked a new five-year deal.
Daniel Talia, Brodie Smith, Mitch McGovern and Rory Atkins have also signed new deals but Crouch had appeared the most likely to consider plying his trade elsewhere.
“I’m stoked to continue my career as a Crow and it’s a credit to my manager Alex McDonald and the club for getting the deal done,” Crouch said.
“There’s plenty of hard work ahead but I think team success isn’t too far away.”
Crouch, whose younger brother Matt has also cemented a spot in the Crows’ midfield this year, has had a cursed injury run during his short career, missing all of last season with a foot injury and breaking his leg in 2014.
He finished second behind Gold Coast’s Jaeger O’Meara in AFL Rising Star voting in his debut season in 2013.