Hawthorn great Jordan Lewis has questioned the Kangaroos' decision to hand defender Luke McDonald a five-year deal, keeping the backman at Arden Street until the end of the 2026 season.
McDonald took home the Syd Barker Medal last year following a stellar season for North Melbourne, with the tough flanker added to the club's leadership group ahead of this season.
McDonald thrived in his defensive duties under Rhyce Shaw and is set to continue to add plenty of speed off half-back for David Noble in 2021.
His rise at the club has earned him a lucrative new deal along with emerging midfielder Luke Davies-Uniacke, who signed a two-year deal on Saturday.
However, despite the celebrations between McDonald and the Kangaroos, Lewis has come to question the contract, believing the 26-year-old isn't deserving of such a long-term deal.
“I think usually those contracts are saved for players who are at the elite level,” he said on Fox Footy’s Saturday Stretch.
If you’d told me before last season that Luke McDonald would get a five year contract extension I would not have believed you. To be honest if you told me this yesterday I still wouldn’t have. Odd decision to make
— Josh Barnstable (@JBarney1994) March 20, 2021
“He’s a good player and had a very good year last year, but I don’t think he’s at that elite level.
“I don’t think there would be too many clubs asking the question if he is out of contract, so I’m a little bit surprised they’ve signed him for that long of a deal because I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
“He’s a good player for the North Melbourne Football Club, but I don’t think he was gettable for other side. They probably thought the need to sign him for whatever reason.”
— North Melbourne (@NMFCOfficial) March 20, 2021
Speaking to the North Media following the announcement of his new deal, McDonald stated he wouldn't want to play anywhere else.
“When the club sort of came to me to negotiate it was a pretty swift negotiation because I’m so committed to this club and can’t wait to bring us back to where we belong,” McDonald told North Media.
“[I’ve] been a North Melbourne fan my whole entire life and I suppose another five years here I jumped at the opportunity.
“I think it takes me until I’m about 31 so I’m just proud I’m going to be a one club player, just like my dad was, and there’s not too many of them these days.
“I’m really, really proud to be a North Melbourne player and it’s the only club I’ve ever wanted to play for."
North Melbourne are set to face Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Sunday in their Round 1 clash, with McDonald a late withdrawal due to a quad complaint.
— Zero Hanger (@zerohanger) March 21, 2021