Veteran Ryan Lester will remain a one club player after signing a two-year contract extension with the Lions.
The 28-year-old, who played a key role in the Club’s 2020 finals campaign, inked the new deal prior to the AFL’s first list lodgement deadline today.
Lester has played 144 games for the Lions since his debut in 2011 and has been part of the leadership group since 2017.
“I feel very proud to have been at the one club for a long period of time and that it is going to continue for a couple more years,’’ he said.
“Not many players get to be at the one club and I’m grateful for that and for the experiences I’ve had.
“This last season was the best we’ve had in my time at the Club and hopefully there’s many good times ahead.’’
List manager Dom Ambrogio said Lester had been a highly valued member of the Club throughout his career due to his outstanding leadership qualities and cultural contribution.
“His efforts to continue to drive standards throughout the Covid 19 shut down were symbolic of the dedication he has displayed throughout his career,’’ he said.
“Whilst his off field contribution has always been second to none, we’ve been really pleased that his hard work off field has transferred to his on-field contribution, which has also continued to grow with 2020 perhaps his most consistent season.
“Ryan was able to play various important roles throughout the year and this culminated in a terrific finals series.”
Key forward Tom Fullarton, who broke through for his AFL debut in 2020, has been elevated to the senior list after spending his first two seasons at the club as a Category B rookie following his switch from the NBL’s Brisbane Bullets.
Due to the reduction in 2021 senior list sizes from 47 to 44, the Lions have been forced to utilise a mechanism made available to Clubs to manage the 9 per cent decrease in Total Player Payments (TPP) and temporarily remove contracted players Grant Birchall, Connor Ballenden and Rhys Mathieson from the senior list.
The club has made a commitment to re-selecting them in the rookie draft.
“We’re thankful to the AFL for their hard work in providing the clubs with additional management mechanisms to minimise any negative impact for the players involved,” Ambrogio said.
The Lions also remain committed to adding Lithuanian born Deividas Uosis as a category B rookie.
The Club offered the lightning fast Gaelic Football star a spot on the 2021 list prior to the competition’s Covid 19 shutdown after he excelled at the AFL’s European combine.
Cedric Cox and Mitch Hinge have been delisted.