Mininera local and SMW Rovers junior Lloyd Meek signed a two-year contract extension last week to stay at the Fremantle Dockers until 2023.
Meek was in constant conversations with the club about an extension and is "stoked" that he and the club could come to terms on a new deal.
"We started talking about it earlier in the year," Meek said.
"We were able to reach an agreement towards the backend of the year, which is so nice to have some security and know what I am doing for the next two years.
"These last four years I have been really happy and I am keen to spend another two there."
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Meek was drafted with pick 69 in the 2017 AFL Draft after an outstanding draft year which included being selected in the TAC Cup team of the season and representing Vic Country at the under 18 national championships.
The 203cm ruckman enjoys life in Western Australia and is grateful for his humble beginning.
"It's a great place to live, we have been so lucky during this COVID period," he said.
"Iknow how tough it has been for my family and friends and everyone back home.
"Growing up in Mininera and playing for Rovers, it's funny when you look back at that time, I probably never would have thought I was going to get here.
"Looking back, I was so raw back then. I love my footy and that (playing for SMW Rovers) sowed the seed of passion that has paved the way to make me who I am.
"That passion lives on as hard as ever and it all started back at Rovers, full credit to the footy club and where I have come from."
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He was encouraged to develop his ruck craft in the reserves throughout his first three seasons before debuting in round one this year against Melbourne in front of family and friends at the MCG.
"Waiting three years was a bit of a slog at times, but that's all part of the journey," Meek said.
"To be able to debut in Melbourne and have 50 or more people who supported me along the whole journey standing above our race as I ran out, that was special. It was the best.
"To be able to finally go out and play with some of your closest mates was special.
"It was electric, I was so lucky that at that point there were crowds in Melbourne."
Fremantle lost in round one against Melbourne by 22 points, and Meek said he "probably felt flatter than what you should," due to the competitive nature of the industry.
However, the following week in round two, he secured his first win in what he described as his career highlight so far.
"We were able to go back to Perth and beat GWS and that was definitely a highlight to be able to get your first win. Being in the middle of the circle and playing in front of a home crowd for the first time, the purple army." Meek said.
"You can't get much more of an exhilarating feeling than that."
Meek credits "all the staff, even JL (AFL head coach Justin Logmuir) has been huge", for his development, since being drafted in 2017.
"This year in particular I have spent a lot of time with Aaron Sandilands and Joel Corey who are two of our assistant coaches, they've just been phenomenal for me, just so generous with their time," he said.
"In my first three years we had Simon Eastaugh as our ruck coach. I credit so much to him, he taught me a lot of what I know now."
Meek said he "felt so at home every time I was out there" because he had so much confidence in his midfield group.
"I was able to walk into a midfield with (Nat) Fyfe, (David) Mundy, (Caleb) Serong, (Andrew) Brayshaw, (Adam) Cerra; it's a pretty special midfield group in there and certainly the most talented I have ever played with," he said.
"I was so confident that they would do the job and they've got your back. To have that on game day when your probably a bit nervous, playing at the highest level as an inexperienced player it's pretty important."
Meek played nine AFL games this season and formed a formidable partnership with Fremantle number one ruck Sean Darcy.
To build on his game tally next season, he aims to improve his forward craft to add more flexibility to his game.
"I was happy to get some opportunity at the AFL level at the start of "the year, and to finish off the year with Sean (Darcy) was great," Meek said.
"I was happy with how I went but definitely not satisfied, you never can be because as soon as you stop going forwards you go backwards in this industry so I am pretty driven to put in another big preseason and hopefully get even more (games) under my belt next season.
"I'd love to keep working on my forward craft and be able to play that dual role to give a bit more flexibility for the team. Getting better in all areas of my game and building a bit more consistency, that's my biggest goal."
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