In-demand Sydney star Luke Parker has resisted the lure of free agency, signing a four-year contract extension with his AFL club.
Many pundits predicted Parker, an unrestricted free agent in the form of his life, would leave the Swans because of their salary-cap squeeze.
But the co-captain’s wish for a longer contract has been granted and he will remain with Sydney until at least the end of the 2025 season.
“I absolutely love the club and I wanted to be part of the long term and really drive the group through this next period,” the 28-year-old said.
“I’m really excited about what the future looks like. We have a great group and we have taken some big steps forward this year.
“We’ve got some young guys who are just starting out in their careers and you ride the bumps with them, you ride the exciting times with them, and it’s such good fun.”
The Victorian, who has played 235 AFL games since being drafted in 2010, is on track to finish a one-club player and Swans legend.
Parker is the most important cog in Sydney’s midfield, having helped them return to the finals this season and winning his third best-and-fairest award.
His consistency, resilience and leadership also form part of the reason he is so highly regarded.
“Luke has been one of the players setting the standards for our group for a long time,” Swans football manager Charlie Gardiner said.
“He leads by example, on and off the field, and has been a wonderful mentor to many of our younger players.
“We are confident in his ability to drive our group forward for the next four seasons.”
Parker’s signature, which comes after he signed a five-year deal in 2016, has been the Swans’ top priority since losing their elimination final against GWS.
Jordan Dawson, fresh from an eye-catching breakout season and third-placed finish at Sydney’s best and fairest, now headlines their list of out-of-contract talent.
South Australian Dawson has been linked to Adelaide’s two clubs.
Restricted free agent George Hewett is expected to attract interest from Carlton, while 2012 premiership forward Sam Reid and young midfielder Dylan Stephens could find new homes depending on how the post-season frenzy plays out.