Christmas has come early for Brisbane Lions fans, with talented midfielder Hugh McCluggage extending his contract with the Club until 2021.
“I’m really excited to stay here for another three years and see what we can do,” McCluggage told lions.com.au from pre-season camp in Launceston.
His Lions teammates and the environment at the Club were key factors in acquiring the hybrid midfielder’s signature.
“I like where the club is heading and the direction we are heading in,” he said.
McCluggage showed maturity well beyond his 19 years in his first season of AFL in 2017.
“It’s pretty exciting your first year, you run on a bit of adrenaline,” he said.
After making his debut in Round 3 against St Kilda, alongside his best mate Jarrod Berry, McCluggage retained his spot in the 22 for the rest of the year.
“The debut was obviously a really big highlight. Being able to do that with Bez [Jarrod Berry] as well was awesome. Winning that game against Essendon, a really close game, all the wins you savour.
In his 18 games, he averaged 15 disposals and kicked eight goals.
General Manager of Football David Noble said: “Hugh is an outstanding individual with high personal values and work ethic, which reflects the environment we are creating."
“It is an indication of our Club moving forward together as we continue to gain respect and relevance in the competition.”
Senior Coach Chris Fagan is ecstatic McCluggage will remain at the Gabba.
“I think it’s great news that Hugh’s agreed to sign on for another three years at the Club,” Fagan said.
“He made a fantastic start to his career last year, playing a lot of senior footy. There’s a lot more of that ahead for him.
“He looks a lot stronger and fitter than he was last year and for him to show that amount of faith in the Club, says a lot about where we are going to and where he thinks we’re headed.
“He, along with a lot of the other young men, are really excited about our prospects. They’re here for the long haul.”
McCluggage has been with the team in Tassie for the past week. This time last year he came as a draftee and now he’s returned with 12 months of AFL experience under his belt.
“It’s a little bit different. The first time you come here you’re probably getting used to all the boys and their personalities,” he said.
“It’s really enjoyable being able to get to know them even more. It’s definitely a bit easier in the second year.”
McCluggage will return to country Victoria for the Christmas break before the Lions’ first session in the New Year on Tuesday, January 9.
McCluggage joins a host of promising Brisbane players to extend their playing contracts in 2017; including Jarrod Berry, Eric Hipwood, Dan McStay, Cedric Cox, Tom Cutler, Harris Andrews, Ben Keays, Sam Skinner and Jacob Allison.