JACK Steven has resisted the lure of free agency to become the latest of a raft of Saints to commit to the club, signing a five-year contract extension.
The midfielder was contracted until the end of 2015 but has extended that to the end of 2020.
Steven, who turns 25 this Saturday, has proven himself to be a vital part of the Saints’ midfield in recent years, winning the 2013 Trevor Barker medal for the club best and fairest and finishing eighth last year despite an injury-affected season.
He said he was delighted to commit to the club for the long term.
“This effectively makes me a Saint for life, which I am thrilled about,” Steven said.
“There was some interest from other teams but I never entertained the thought of leaving the Saints. I’ve got some close friends here and there is a great vibe around the place with some positive things happening and this is the club I want to represent for my entire career.”
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St Kilda Chief Operating Officer Ameet Bains said Steven’s signing was an example of the positive momentum around the Saints.
“For a player such as Jack to commit to the club in such an emphatic manner shows the faith our playing list has in the club and its direction,” Bains said.
“Jack is one of our best and most valuable players and is becoming a genuine leader around the club. Considering his age in comparison to our young playing group, he is a vital part of our list and our plans.”
The announcement comes 10 days before the Saints kick off their season against GWS in round one and in the same week the club signed its 30,000th member.
VIDEO: Steven's stunning finish
The Saints are currently the no. 1 Victorian AFL club in both the all-important ‘2014 member retention’ and ‘lapsed-member renewal’ categories, in a sign that the club committed to be more open and engaging.
Steven's signing is the latest in a raft of positive announcements including signing 25,000 members by 25 December (a club record), re-signing 19 young players as part of Future Fest, securing a raft of exciting young talent at the National Draft, , securing Dare Iced Coffee and SEEK as sponsors, re-signing captain Nick Riewoldt until the end of 2016, employing an inaugural General Manager - Football performance (Jamie Cox), Director of coaching (Danny Sexton), bringing back club legend Danny Frawley as a defensive coach and Ahmed Saad in the rookie draft.
Jack Steven commits to our club and his mates until 2020. A decision based on faith and integrity.— Alan Richardson (@AlanRichardson) March 25, 2015