The Lions’ list has been strengthened by Alex Witherden extending his contract for a further two years, seeing him at the Club until at least the end of 2022.

The 20-year-old, who has already clocked 41 games for the Lions, said his decision came down to his love of the Club and the men he plays alongside of. 

“I just think each week, each day, I see 47 blokes come in with the same goal, and that’s to improve,” Witherden said.

“I love my teammates and I’ve got some of my best mates here now. I would never want to leave them. 

“That was one of the main reasons I wanted to stay.”

The defender, known for his strong, penetrating kick, was drafted to the Lions with Pick No. 23 in 2016. The same draft class as Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry, who recently extended until 2024. 

“The way the Club’s going at the moment, we’re starting to see the on-field benefits of all the hard work we’ve been putting in behind the scenes over the past 24 months,” Witherden said. 

“I think if we continue to work hard, we’re destined to have some form of success in the future.”

General Manager of Football David Noble said Witherden was a determined young man with an exciting future ahead.

“Alex’s commitment to extending his contract allows us to keep developing the group we drafted together a few years ago,” Noble said. 

“His infectious personality and growth as an individual, along with his investment in his team mates and the Club, has been fantastic to watch.

“We have loved watching his on field skills mature and become a significant part of our backline.”