Hayden Young has joined fellow top-10 draftees Caleb Serong and Liam Henry by signing a contract extension at Fremantle until at least the end of the 2023 season.
The two-year extension comes on top of Young’s initial two-year deal for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Young was the first of Fremantle’s selections at the 2019 NAB National Draft at no.7 and he was the first to make his debut in round two against Brisbane at the Gabba.
“I’m really looking forward to the coming years at the club,” Young said.
“The youth at the club at the moment is really coming through…the players who debuted this year, like Caleb Serong, Michael Frederick, Sam Sturt, Liam Henry and Tobe Watson.
“We also have the likes of Andy Brayshaw and Adam Cerra, who are superstars. I think the club is heading in the right direction and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
The defender excited fans with his athleticism and skill by foot before he injured his ankle in round six against St Kilda and was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Young said he gained a lot of experience from those five games earlier in the year and, most importantly, he feels he’s now on track in his recovery.
“I learnt a lot from those games and it’s given me plenty of confidence heading into my next pre-season,” Young said.
“I’m feeling really good. I’m back running now and ticking all the boxes. I could have been close to get back towards the end of the season but because of the circumstances and the condensed fixture it was decided not to rush the recovery.
“I’ll be fit and ready to go for the first day of pre-season.”
Fremantle head of player personnel David Walls said Fremantle fans can look forward to an exciting season from Young next year.
“We only got a glimpse of what Hayden can do in 2020,” Walls said.
“In our game against Gold Coast, we saw him settle in and look comfortable at the top level. He was brave in the air and his ball use is going to be a real weapon for us.
“He’s adapted to AFL life really well.
“He’s been unbelievably diligent and working hard with his rehab from injury. I can’t wait to see him out there next year.”
Fremantle’s backline was among the AFL’s best in 2020 and Walls believes Young will only make that line stronger.
“Hayden has so many strengths, he can lock down, he can play taller and he can also intercept,” Walls said.
“He provides a lot of versatility to the backline but I think his ball use is what really sets him apart. He’s so damaging and penetrating with that left foot.
“When everyone is up and going, it’s going to be tough for the coaches at selection.”