Promising Melbourne key forward Sam Weideman has penned a two-year contract extension with the club, locking him away until 2019.
The 19-year-old was the No.9 overall pick in the 2015 AFL draft, it was Melbourne’s first selection.
Weideman told AFL.com.au he was “very grateful” for Melbourne to show faith in him and hopes he can improve with the side this year.
“I feel a lot more confident in marking contests and contests around the ball now, just being able to stay strong and it’s really helping me grow as a player,” Weideman said.
“I just need to keep adapting to what my body is turning into and hopefully it’s steering me in the right direction.”
Weideman kicked 25 goals in 11 VFL games in 2016, he played three AFL games late in the season. The highlight was the round 20 win against Hawthorn where Weideman had 13 posessions and kicked two goals.
The 195cm forward said the AFL experience was a “big eye-opener” and has motivated his pre-season, during which he has put on 6kg.
Weideman said he was excited to work alongside fellow young forward Jesse Hogan, who also re-committed to the club until 2019.
“‘Hoges’ has already stamped his name in his first few years that he’s played, just his aggression and his launch at the contest, it’s a real joy to watch, especially playing alongside him,” Weideman says.
“Jack’s just got great poise and his skills are unbelievable, so I’d love to get the opportunity to play alongside those two, they’re both quality players and they’re really good to work with.
“Hopefully I can grow with them and grow with the success of the club.
“We’re all hoping – as all the forwards are – that we can gel together and really create something special.”
Melbourne Football Manager Josh Mahoney told AFL.com.au Weideman is a key player for Melbourne’s future.
“Sam is a key part of our side moving forward and key forwards are difficult to find and we know already that there are some other clubs that would be interested in having a player like Sam on their list,” Mahoney said.
“It was part of the club’s strategy to have a forward line structure that involved a couple of key targets, with Jesse Hogan being one of them and Sam, with his progression, hopefully can become the other one.
“We think that sort of structure is going to be pretty potent moving forward. So Sam is a really important signing and another sign that we’re going in the right direction as a club.”