North Melbourne key defender, Ben McKay, says the club’s exciting future made putting pen to paper on a new two-year deal, a no-brainer.
One of the most important parts of the club's list rebuild, McKay’s deal will see him remain at Arden St until at least the end of 2023, and comes off the back of a break-out season.
“I’m really excited about what the future holds personally and also as a team,” McKay told North Media.
“I think the way 'Nobes' [David Noble] has come in and galvanised the group - he’s really driving some high standards around here, and I’m all for that.
“It’s going to be an exciting couple of years and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”
The 23-year-old has gone to new heights playing on the league’s best key-forwards in an undermanned North defence.
“This is my sixth year - the first two or three years were pretty barren I suppose. I was probably thinking a bit of how it’s going to play out, how am I going to find a spot in the team,” he said.
“Through persistence and hard work, earning a spot last year and trying to keep that … I’ve managed to do that and that’s something I’m proud of.
“I know within myself I’m only just getting started and I think I’ve got so much more development and growth in me and that’s what gets me excited and out of bed every morning.
“I think I’ve only just tapped the surface of what I can reach and achieve, so I’m so excited to see what that holds.
“There are a lot of other people looking to sign on and hang around and I think that’s so important … hopefully members and fans can understand that and stick by us, because I don’t think we’re too far off.”
North GM football, Brady Rawlings, said McKay’s dedication and hard work has been aptly rewarded.
“Ben has definitely put in the hard yards since being drafted to the club,” Rawlings said.
“He’s a big part of what we are building and we view him as an integral part of the club’s future as we seek to reposition ourselves as contenders in the coming years.”
Drafted 21st overall in 2015, it wasn’t until Round 7 last season that saw McKay become a regular in North’s 22.
“He earned his opportunity to play last year and he hasn’t looked back since. We’ve seen him step up every week in the absence of Robbie Tarrant, Aidan Corr and Luke McDonald,” Rawlings said.
“Ben has become a reliable and consistent player for us. He puts in each week researching and studying his opponents, and its paying off for him.”