Watt a deal: Demon Fritsch signs long-term contract
Bayley Fritsch, the man Melbourne drafted with the selection they received from Port Adelaide in exchange for Jack Watts, will remain a bedrock of the Demons, having signed a long-term contract.
Fritsch, 24, was a key figure in the Demons’ breakthrough premiership this season, booting a team-high 59 goals, including six in the grand final. He will now remain a Demon at least until the end of 2026.
Bayley Fritsch has signed a new deal with the Demons.Credit:Getty Images
“Pretty exciting times, coming off a year where we broke a 57-year premiership drought,” Fritsch said, while seated at the MCG.
“We’ve been building a connection for a number of years now and that’s only going to get stronger. It’s exciting times ahead. I can’t wait to have the supporters back in these seats, playing in front of them.”
Fritsch, who has begun unofficial pre-season training, reinforced statements made by skipper Max Gawn, who has declared the Demons are determined to secure back-to-back flags.
“We, obviously, come into every pre-season wanting to achieve the ultimate. We were lucky enough to do it last [season]. I am sure we will be sitting down day one and setting our sights on a premiership come 2022,” Fritsch said.
Already back in training: Bayley Fritsch at a session Iast month, just weeks after the Demons won the flag.Credit:Getty Images
It was only in 2017 when the silky left footer had a day job as an apprentice electrician, and would leave his Coldstream home in time to be on the tools from 7am. He would finish work at 3pm and head to Casey, where he would train until 10pm, three times a week.
He booted 42 goals in 19 matches for the VFL Demons that season. So impressed were the AFL Demons that he was taken with pick No.31 – the pick they received in trading Watts, the former No.1 pick, to the Power ahead of 2017 AFL draft.
That’s now a distant memory, with Fritsch joining fellow prime movers Christian Petracca (seven years) and Clayton Oliver (two years) in signing contract extensions this year.
“As a club we are thrilled that Bayley has committed long-term and is he is determined to help Melbourne achieve sustained success,” Demons list manager Tim Lamb said.
“Bayley has developed into one of the most consistent and damaging forwards in the competition, something which was, obviously, reaffirmed by his impressive grand final performance.
“He has worked incredibly hard on his game since arriving at the club and is much loved and respected by his teammates and staff alike.”
His signing comes as the Demons work towards a contract extension with coach Simon Goodwin, who is off contract at the end of next season. This time last year, Goodwin’s future was a major point of debate, but club chief executive Gary Pert has said he expects a new deal to be in place by the start of next season.
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