Melbourne skipper Nathan Jones has labelled the frenzy surrounding Jesse Hogan’s future as bizarre, but he’s not worried about the prospect of losing the star forward.
Hogan’s future has been a hot topic for the best part of two years, despite the 21-year-old’s contract running until the end of 2017.
Brisbane great Jonathan Brown raised eyebrows earlier this season when he said Fremantle should offer Hogan $15 million over 10 years to try to lure the West Australian home.
Hogan says he won’t be rushed into making a decision, revealing the major factor he’s weighing up is the Demons’ prospects of achieving on-field success.
Melbourne have steadily improved over the past three years under coach Paul Roos, and Jones is optimistic Hogan will stay at the club.
“I’m not worried at all one bit – from a player and personal relationship point of view – that he wouldn’t stay with the footy club,” Jones said.
“He’s an integral part of our future and I’m hoping that he signs sooner rather than later.
“I think he understands his standing in our group and the importance of that.
“He’s a real young leader for us. He’ll go through the process and we’ll get an outcome hopefully shortly.”
Hogan has booted 83 goals in 36 matches since debuting last year, and he also won the 2015 Rising Star award.
Jones has been surprised by how early people started talking about Hogan’s future.
“It’s bizarre. It’s probably unprecedented, really,” Jones said.
“I think it was basically two years out from him being out of contract (that people were already talking about it).
“I can sort of understand that there is a frenzy around it but, in the end, I think he’ll make a great decision.”
The Demons will aim to break their 16-match losing run at Domain Stadium on Saturday when they front up against West Coast.
Melbourne haven’t won in Perth since beating Fremantle there in 2004.
The past five years have been particularly brutal, with Melbourne losing matches at the venue by 54, 66, 90, 61, 108 and 54 points.
Jones is yet to taste victory in his 12 visits to Perth, but he said the player group weren’t about to be haunted by the stadium.
“It doesn’t play on our mind at all, to be honest,” Jones said.
“The group has changed that much; we’ve got a handful of boys that have never played here.”