A desire to help the Brisbane Lions experience further success and a love for the Club has seen Co-Vice Captain Hugh McCluggage sign a new seven-year deal.

Despite being one of the AFL’s most in demand free agents with strong interest from rival Clubs, the talented midfielder has put pen to paper to stay a Lion until 2031.

McCluggage, a former South Warrnambool and Greater Western Victoria Rebels junior, also resisted a move home to Victoria to continue his new life in Queensland.

The 26-year-old, selected with Pick 3 in the 2016 National Draft, said he was delighted to re-commit to the Club that first made his AFL dream come true.

“I’m really grateful for the faith the club has shown in me not only to get to this point, but also to be able to extend my career for another seven years,” McCluggage said.

“I’ve had so many great role models in fellow teammates, coaches and mentors along the way and I hope that I can be that person for the next group of players coming through.

“And I love the bond that all the football department share, with a lot of us having moved away from home to play or work at the Lions.

McCluggage’s arrived at The Gabba in 2016 alongside fellow country Victorian and good mate Jarrod Berry, as well as senior coach Chris Fagan.

The trio have all been instrumental in seeing the Lions go from bottom of the ladder to experiencing finals success, including a Grand Final berth in 2023.

Though McCluggage, who has played 166 games for the Lions and was one of the best performers in last year’s finals series, said he and the Club aren’t about to rest on their laurels.

“I am proud of the last seven years, it is definitely something I will look back at fondly once I finish my career, but I still feel as though we have unfinished business,” he said.

“I love how far we have come since Fages (coach Chris Fagan) got here and the attitude that we have towards consistently getting better as players and people.

“We have had so many great experiences to learn from and use to get to where we want to be.

“The challenge now is to remain a good club and football team long into the future like the best Clubs in the competition are able to do.

“And I am excited to see what we can do with the current list we have, excited to see what our current and future young players can do and excited to play a part in the continued growth of the membership and brand of the Club.”

The Lions Co-Vice Captain did not put restrictions on what he hoped to achieve with the Club over the next seven years, though he was excited for what the future holds.

“Individually, I just want to be the best teammate I can, and I want to keep improving in all facets of my life,” McCluggage said.

“As a team, I think we need to remain consistent and continue to provide a hard working but fun environment for everyone who comes through our club to thrive.

“If we do that, I have no doubt that on-field success will follow.”

Brisbane Lions General Manager of Football, Danny Daly said the Club was thrilled to have McCluggage re-sign for seven more years.

“It’s been fantastic having Hugh and the entire McCluggage family be part of our Club for the seven years since Hugh was drafted and we couldn’t be happier to have them staying with us for at least another seven years,” Daly said.

“Hugh is an outstanding player and more importantly he is an exceptional person who epitomizes everything we stand for as a football club.

“There’s no doubting the Club is where it is because of having Hugh help drive the standards and build the culture we have here.

“He is a fantastic leader who has been our Vice Captain for several seasons, and he has all the traits to one day be the captain of the Brisbane Lions.”