Young Hawthorn key defender James Blanck has signed a two-year contract extension with the Hawks that ties him to the club until the end of 2026.

Senior coach Sam Mitchell announced the news at a team meeting during the Hawks' pre-season camp this week.

The 23-year-old was recruited in 2022 through the Mid-Deason Draft which saw him debut later that year in Round 15. He has had 24 appearances for the Hawks since debuting and was immediately given the role of going up against some of the best forwards in the competition.

Blanck is part of a growing number of Hawks players who started their careers at Box Hill VFL before getting a shot at AFL level.

Hawthorn National List and Recruiting Manager Mark McKenzie said that it was pleasing to have another Box Hill player performing and going from strength to strength at AFL level. 

“We knew when we picked up James that he had the potential to make it at AFL level, and it's been really satisfying to see the way he has gone about putting in the hard work in recent times,” said McKenzie.   

“Going-head-to-head with many of the competition's top key forwards in just his first season and a half, James has demonstrated a strong ability to nullify their influence and help support our defence.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: James Blanck of the Hawks is chased by Reilly O'Brien of the Crows during the 2022 AFL Round 17 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Adelaide Crows at Marvel Stadium on July 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“Having only turned 23 at the end of last year, James is still relatively young for a key defender and will only keep improving, we believe he has the foundations for an exciting future ahead at our football club.”

During the trade period last year the Hawks tried to get free agent Ben McKay and Geelong's Esava Ratugolea to help strengthen their backline, though unsuccessful in their pursuit the Hawks are confident that Blanck can continue developing and act as an important figure in their back six for the club.