Melbourne’s former whipping boy Jack Watts has signed a three-year contract extension with the AFL club, saying he never contemplated leaving.
Watts confirmed on Thursday he will stay with the Demons until at least the end of the 2019 season.
The 25-year-old suggested it was easy to ignore the lure of free agency and that it would be “pretty special” to finish a one-club player.
Watts is enjoying his best season, having booted 31 goals and found his groove in the forward line.
Football has become fun again, something that couldn’t be said for most of his 131-game career.
As is the case with all No.1 draft picks, Watts has been heavily scrutinised since joining the Demons in 2008.
Many success-starved fans were quick to criticise as Watts took time to find his feet at AFL level, while pundits questioned everything from his kicking to commitment.
“It hasn’t been a smooth ride. It hasn’t always been roses and laughter,” Watts told the club website.
“To have people stick by you and support you all the way, you really want to repay that and I think I’ve taken steps towards that this year.
“I’ve never had too many doubts about staying here at Melbourne.
“You form such close bonds with everyone here your teammates, coaching staff and the supporters, who have been with me through everything.
“It’s been a sensational year and that’s why I’m so excited to be here for the next three years. You can only see it going up and getting better, so it should be a really bright future.”
Watts heaped praised on coach Paul Roos, who will hand the reins over to Simon Goodwin after the 2016 season.
“Roosy coming along has just saved our club,” he said.
The Demons have successfully re-signed a handful of key players this year, proof of the club’s turnaround under Roos.
But they are yet to secure the key signature of power forward Jesse Hogan, the 2015 Rising Star winner who is not out of contract until the end of 2017.