Jayden Laverde of the Bombers marks the ball during the 2016 AFL Round 18 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on July 24, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Jayden Laverde signs two-year contract extension

Essendon youngster Jayden Laverde has signed a two-year contract extension, rejecting interest from a number of rival clubs, including St Kilda.

The new deal keeps the 20-year-old at the Bombers until the end of the 2018 season.

He has played 18 games, including nine this season, since being selected with No.20 in the 2014 National Draft, averaging 12 disposals per game.

“Having grown up supporting Essendon all my life, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to continue my career in the red and black,” Laverde said.

“Under Woosha we have a really clear understanding of the hard work we need to do as a team if we want to match it with the elite sides in the competition and achieve success.

“I’ve learnt a lot with my football this season, and I can’t wait to come back, train hard and prove myself alongside such a committed and hard working group of footballers who are also some of my closest friends.”

Coach John Worsfold said he is thrilled Laverde has re-committed to the club.

“Jayden arrived at the Club as an 18-year-old with a lot of raw talent, but through a great deal of hard work he has developed into an important contributor to the team” Worsfold said.

“Jayden worked really hard to get back from injury this year, and his pressure around the contest, clean skills and smart decision making was a great asset to us in the back half of the season.

“He has bought into the vision and culture of the football Club, he understands the hard work that is ahead of the group and the elite standards required if we are to improve as a side next season.”