New deals for Don, Dog
Essendon midfielder Devon Smith has signed a two-year contract extension. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)
ESSENDON midfielder Devon Smith and Western Bulldogs defender Bailey Williams have signed new deals keeping them at their respective clubs until the end of 2023.
Smith is closing on 50 games for the Bombers after 109 matches with the GWS Giants.
He arrived at Essendon in 2018 and won the Crichton Medal as best-and-fairest that year.
“It was a pretty straight-forward decision and it’s good to get it (contract extension) out of the way early in the season, so I’m rapt to be signing on with the club for a further two years,” Smith said.
“It’s been a challenging couple of years, but the body feels really good now and I’m just loving being out there and educating our younger midfielders too.
“As one of the older players on the list now, I personally get a lot of energy from the young guys coming through and it’s been great to feed off that.
“Personally, ‘Truck’ (coach Ben Rutten) has been huge for me, driving me to be the best version I can be both on and off the field. He’s been terrific for this group and we’re heading in the right direction.
“As a playing group, we’re all so hungry and driven to take this group forward. I’m excited to be a part of that and to see what we can achieve over the coming years.”
Williams was named the Bulldogs’ most improved player in 2020 as the club returned to the finals for the first time since its drought-breaking premiership in 2016.
He played all 18 games and finished fifth in the Charles Sutton Medal.
“It’s exciting to be locked in at the club for another two years,” Williams, has 54 AFL games to his name, said.
“I think there are some exciting times ahead for our group and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.
“It was great being able to make my way into the team last year, stay there and play my role. I’ll just keep looking to do that each week.
“The bond within our group is really good and it’s enjoyable being at the club. I love playing with these boys every week and can’t wait to see what this season holds for us.”