Luke Dunstan will remain a Saint until at least the end of 2021, inking a new two-year deal this week.
The 24-year-old has been among the Saints’ most important this year, regularly holding his own against the best midfielders in the competition.
“We’ve been really impressed with Luke this season, both on and off the field,” Saints Head of List Management James Gallagher said.
“He has always been willing to put his body on the line, but he’s grown into a very important player for us, and his numbers reflect that.”
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Dunstan’s progress has been clear, with his stats in contested possessions, clearances and tackles all up year-on-year.
Of every midfielder to have played this season competition-wide, only four average 6+ clearances, 5+ tackles and 4+ inside-50s – Luke Dunstan, Clayton Oliver, Luke Shuey and Elliot Yeo.
“Luke is also a vocal leader and has been integral to the development of several players around him.
“We’re really pleased to have secured his services for the next few years, and we look forward to seeing his growth continue.”
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Dunstan, who notched up his 100th AFL game two weeks ago, said the decision to stay was made easy by the exciting crop of young players alongside him.
“I love the club, and I believe the group we have is capable of some really great things,” Dunstan said.
“We’re getting to a stage where there is a core number of boys who have played together for a few years now, and we’re really starting to gather some momentum.
“We are really keen to finish the year off strongly, and then get stuck back into pre-season and prepare for a big 2020.”
Dunstan joined the Saints with pick No. 18 in the 2013 AFL Draft, before debuting against Melbourne in Round 1 the following year.