PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 12: Luke Ryan of the Dockers kicks the ball during the round eight AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium on May 12, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Fremantle defender Luke Ryan has put pen to paper on a contract extension that will see him remain at the club until at least the end of the 2023 season.

Ryan had a year to run on his current deal, but agreed to a three-year extension on Tuesday.

Ryan will also change numbers ahead of the new season, and will now wear number 13, following 49 games in the number 38.

The 23-year-old was taken with pick 66 in the 2016 draft, and said if it wasn’t for the Dockers, he may not even be in the AFL.

“I’m very excited to stay with Fremantle,” Ryan told the club’s website.

“I’ve got my family back home but when I spoke to them, we came to the conclusion that Fremantle gave me my chance – if it wasn’t for Fremantle I probably wouldn’t have been playing AFL.

“(Before) I was called out with pick 66, I felt it was my last chance and, luckily enough, they called me. I owe it to Fremantle and what they’ve done for me, so I wanted to sign on.”

Ryan had to step up in the absence of Alex Pearce last season, and impressed averaging 20.4 disposals, 5.2 marks and 5.1 rebound 50s per game.

“Luke’s re-signing is a fantastic result, he’s someone who has cemented himself in our back six,” Fremantle’s list manager Mark Micallef told the club’s website.

“With Luke’s intercept ability and ability to use the ball by foot, he adds to the defensive pillars we have in our defence.

“We see Luke as being a really strong and hopefully elite player of the competition. He has the football characteristics that are vital for our success and we hope he can lock in that role as a strong leader of our defence.”