AFL: Hugh McCluggage to remain with Lions until 2031

Hugh McCluggage wants to take care of some “unfinished business” after signing a huge seven-year contract extension to remain with the Brisbane Lions until the end of 2031.

The new deal is reportedly worth nearly $1 million per season and less than the 26-year-old midfielder would have gotten elsewhere had he explored free agency.

However, Warrnambool product McCluggage has repaid the Lions for the “faith” they have shown in him.

“I’ve had so many great role models in teammates, coaches and mentors along the way and hopefully I can be that person for the next group of players coming in,” said McCluggage, who was selected with the third overall pick National project 2016

“I love the bond that the entire football department shares, with many of us having moved away from home to play or work for the Lions.

“I love how far we’ve come since `Fages’ (coach Chris Fagan) got here and the attitude we have towards constantly improving as players and as 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 a good football team in the future, as the best clubs in the competition are capable of doing.”

The “challenge” also includes winning a premiership after losing last season’s final by just four points to Collingwood.

“I’m proud of the last seven years. It’s definitely something I’ll look back on fondly once my career is over, but I still feel like we have unfinished business,” said McCluggage, the Lions’ co-vice-captain.

“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 success on the field will follow.”

Lions coach Danny Daly said McCluggage was an “outstanding player” and an “outstanding person”.

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

“There is no doubt that the club is where it is thanks to Hugh’s help driving the standards and building the culture we have here.

“He is a fantastic leader… and has all the makings of becoming captain of the Brisbane Lions one day.”

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