AFL Rd 1 - Essendon v Fremantle
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher of the Bombers warms up during the round 1 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium on March 21, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Exciting young defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher has signed a new two-year contract to remain at the Bombers until the end of the 2023 season.

The 22-year old has played 17 games for the red and black since being taken with pick 66 in the 2017 AFL Draft, and debuting in Round 22, 2019 against Fremantle.

The South-Australian product has developed himself into a strong one-on-one defender with exceptional marking abilities and athleticism.

Speaking to the club website, the key-defender was thrilled to extend his stay at Tullamarine.

"I’m thrilled to be at the club for the next two years," Zerk-Thatcher said.

"As a key defender, I still have so much development ahead of me. I’ve been given real clarity on what I need to work on to best help me succeed. This off season is going to be a real opportunity for me which I’m really looking forward to."

"I’ve been blessed with the people I’m surrounded by, in particular, ‘Truck’ (senior coach Ben Rutten) and ‘Gia’ (defence coach Daniel Giansiracusa) who’ve helped my defensive craft."

"I’m really excited about this team and looking forward to contributing more in the coming seasons."

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General manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro said he was excited to have Zerk-Thatcher recommit to the club for the next two years.

"We’re really delighted to have ‘Thatch’ sign on for the next two years," Dodoro said.

"It’s no secret talls take time to develop and he’s been someone who’s needed that time to fill out his body and get confident in the role."

"We have no doubt ‘Thatch’ will continue to grow in that position and become a really viable defensive option in the future given the attributes he already possesses."

"We can’t wait to see his development over the next couple of years."

Zerk-Thatcher has seen himself out of the lineup for the Bombers in recent weeks, last playing in Round 15 against Melbourne, but will look to push for selection as Essendon face Collingwood at the MCG on Sunday afternoon in a must-win game to make finals.