Christian Petracca's monster new deal is the jewel in Melbourne's crown of big re-signings that coach Simon Goodwin hopes can help deliver the Demons long-term AFL success.
Petracca showed his faith in the unbeaten leaders in signing a seven-year contract extension tying him to Melbourne until the end of 2029.
The 25-year-old follows teammates Max Gawn, Jake Lever, Clayton Oliver and Christian Salem in re-signing this year and Goodwin emphasised Melbourne's focus on keeping their playing group together.
"There's an enormous connection between our playing group, and there's a core group of players that have all re-signed and they're all important pillars in our footy club - not only now but moving forward," Goodwin told reporters on Wednesday.
"They want to build success together and they want to do it over a long period of time and I think it's a great show of faith that they all want to stay together.
"It speaks volumes for the people that are within our footy club and the culture that we're starting to build that they want to be a part of that and they want to be a part of the Melbourne footy club."
Petracca has played a crucial role in the Demons' best start to an AFL season in 56 years, averaging 29 disposals, six clearances, more than seven inside-50s and more than a goal a game.
The 25-year-old was already contracted to Melbourne for 2022 but would have been a restricted free agent at the end of next season.
Goodwin said he'd never expected the midfielder to leave with the length of the deal - Petracca will be 33 when it ends - a show of "confidence".
"No doubt whatsoever (I would re-sign) - it's obviously very exciting," Petracca told the club's website.
"Obviously there was a lot of thought to go into it - it's my whole career, pretty much.
"To map out a seven-year plan with the club is really exciting and I'm just really happy with the direction the club's going."
Meanwhile, Goodwin confirmed Tom McDonald would continue in his role up forward against Sydney on Saturday night rather than covering the injured Adam Tomlinson down back, with young defender Harrison Petty to be called upon.
Goodwin said Sam Weideman, who has booted 14 goals in three VFL games since his return from a pre-season injury, was pushing hard for selection - while he was confident the key forward would also remain at the Demons beyond this year.
Australian Associated Press