Young Magpies gun to sign contract extension
Star Collingwood draftee Jaiydn Stephenson is set to sign a two-year contract extension after a sublime start to his AFL career.
The teenager was crucial in his team's upset win over Adelaide last Friday night, booting five goals to go with his 13 disposals in a near best-on-ground performance.
Stephenson's management and the Magpies had already been in discussions over a new deal, meaning he will be at the club until at least the end of 2021. Detailed negotiations will begin shortly.
The Magpies were delighted when Stephenson slid to pick six in last year's national draft, with some recruiters believing he was the best player in the pool.
As many as six clubs had concerns about drafting Stephenson, purely because of a genetic heart condition that requires medication.
But Stephenson was cleared by two independent specialists and Collingwood decided in the final hours before the draft that they would select him.
“We were given the all clear by specialists before the draft and we can only go on what they tell us and the specialists told us he’s at no more risk that any other player in the draft and wheover did pick him was going to be pretty happy,” Robbie Dorazio from Connors Sports told The Age.
“It was a very stressful time for a young man and talk going around that he may not be getting drafted because of his condiiton.
“A couple of hours before the draft, I was able to go and see Jaidyn and tell him that he was going to be drafted … he broke down in tears.
“In talking to his parents, it was tough for them as well. Their message was 'we wouldn’t put our son out there if it was going to cause him harm'.”
Astonishingly, when Stephenson does officially put pen to paper on his new deal, it will mean that eight of the first 11 players taken in last year’s draft will have signed contract renewals.
Carlton youngster Paddy Dow has been given the longest deal: he signed a three-year extension with the Blues before even playing a game, keeping him at Ikon Park until the end of 2022.
Such is becoming the trend in modern footy and the exponential growth of player movement that clubs are safeguarding themselves against young stars leaving for greater prospects.
Of the top 11, only Saints duo Nick Coffield and Hunter Clark and Fremantle midfielder Adam Cerra are yet to sign with their clubs beyond 2019.