Sydney stopper Lewis Melican will continue to call the Harbour City home after completing a one-year extension with the Swans on Tuesday.
Melican had entered 2023 without the certainty of a deal going forward, and after being bumped down the defensive pecking order at Moore Park, the 26-year-old appeared up against it to retain his place on the roster.
Yet, after John Longmire's side was struck, time and again, with injuries behind the ball, Melican stepped in to fill the void, performing admirably across eight appearances, including during the Bloods' narrow elimination final loss to Carlton.
Since joining the Swans with the 52nd pick of the 2015 rookie draft, the Geelong Falcons product has continued to put his hand up when needed, playing 60 games in the red and the white.
Speaking as the ink dried on his new deal, Melican told Swans Media that despite being a Victorian by birth, Sydney was now home.
“Since arriving in Sydney when I was drafted, I have always loved this club,” Melican said.
“My goal has always been to play as much footy as I can, and I was able to get my body right and get some continuity into my game, which is just massive.
“I'm grateful the club has given me the opportunity to have another year and to prove myself – I've just got to make sure I get my body right and do everything right in the off season to ensure I can come back and have a big year next year.”
Swans footy boss Charlie Gardiner paid praise to the dogged clubman, tipping his hat to Melican's perseverance and resilience.
“Lewis is an exceptional young man and has been an important part of our playing group for several seasons. We're thrilled to have him recommit to the club,” Gardiner said.
“Lewis has faced a number of challenges with his body over the past few seasons but has shown great resilience and drive to overcome those injury setbacks. When fit and healthy, he has played important key defensive roles as he showed at times this season and again in our recent final against Carlton.
“We're confident that Lewis' best football is in front of him and look forward to seeing what he can produce in season 2024.”
Having agreed to terms with Melican, Sydney now has eight players in contract limbo, a list comprised of Cameron Owen, Hugo Hall-Kahan, Jaidon Magor, Lachlan Rankin, Marc Sheather, Sam Reid, Will Gould and Dylan Stephens.
Though the futures of the majority remain clouded, Stephens appears set to fly the Swans' nest, with the former first-round draftee requesting a trade to North Melbourne last week.