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Aussie Rules: Demons ace pens new deal

There is some big signing news to come out of Melbourne ahead of the 2023 AFL campaign, Geelong have yet to name their new captain, Adelaide have, while there could be more injury heartbreak for a West Coast star.

The action on the pitch may still be a few weeks away but there is no shortage of news as the 18 AFL clubs continue their preparations for a big season. At this time of year it is all about ramping up the training and hoping everyone avoids injury ahead of the opening round.

But unfortunately training ground incidents do happen and not everyone will be ready. Leadership groups also have to be finalised while new contracts are handed out so players can be fully focused on playing good footy.

There is plenty going on in the AFL. Let’s take a look at the latest.

Melbourne tie down star defender

Melbourne are determined to bounce back from the disappointment of failing to defend the flag by winning it back in 2023 and they have just secured a big piece of the jigsaw.

Star defender Steven May would have been off contract at the end of the year but the Demons have secured him to a two-year contract extension to take him through until the end of 2025. It comes as a huge boost as May is now free to focus on his footy and not worry about what the future may hold.

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The defender is a crucial cog in the Melbourne side. When he was missing for games in 2022 it was no surprise that Simon Goodwin’s men did not look the same side and suffered some defeats.

Melbourne list manager Tim Lamb has described May as an ‘incredible asset’ to the club and he is crucial to what they hope to achieve over the next three seasons.

At the age of 31 May says he is delighted to have his future locked in and still believes he has some of his best footy ahead of him. Melbourne are priced at 13/2 to win the flag in 2023.

Geelong delay naming Selwood replacement

The Cats are the reigning premiers and are priced at 9/2 to go back-to-back and win the flag in 2023 but as things stand they do not have a leader. Joel Selwood was skipper in 2022 and led them to Grand Final glory but of course he retired from the game once the campaign was done and dusted, going out at the very top.

Selwood will take some replacing, hence why the Cats are taking their time over the decision. There are a host of top candidates for the role but it is a decision that will not be rushed.

Defender Tom Stewart and star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield are the hot fancies to get the job, but fellow midfielder Cam Guthrie is also in the frame.

Guthrie has now revealed that Geelong’s senior players have been consulted and their input will be taken into consideration before a decision is announced. But whoever gets the nod will have the support of the whole playing group.

Crows name new skipper

The Adelaide Crows have already made their decision over who will replace outgoing skipper Rory Sloane, with Jordan Dawson taking the role.

Sloane passed on the role and steps away from the leadership group altogether as he focuses fully on recovery from a knee reconstruction.

Dawson will now step into the position despite only arriving at the club from the Sydney Swans ahead of the 2022 AFL season.. But he quickly showed his leadership skills and was added to the leadership group midway through the season. 

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks says Dawson is the ideal man for the job as he ‘steps up and delivers’ during key moments of the game. The Crows are priced at 9/2 to make the top eight this season.

West Coast sweat on Darling injury

West Coast are priced at 3/1 to suffer most losses in the 2023 season and already have concerns on the injury front. Just like the Eagles, key forward Jack Darling had a 2022 to forget as he battled with injury and there are worrying signs before the new season has even started.

Darling suffered an ankle injury and had to leave the field during match simulation training on Friday. West Coast have yet to discover the full extent of the damage but there are fears he will miss the start of the season that is now just three weeks away.

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