Triple premiership defender Nick Vlastuin has committed his long-term future to Richmond, putting pen to paper on a five-year deal this week.
The contract extension will see Vlastuin remain at Tigerland until at least the end of 2026.
Vlastuin, a star interceptor is coming off an arguably career-best season in 2020, having ranked No. 1 at Richmond for intercepts, No. 2 for marks and rebound-50s and in the top five for one-percenters and metres gained.
Vlastuin was also selected in last season’s 40-man All-Australian squad and the winner of the Maurie Fleming Medal as third in Richmond’s best and fairest.
The 26-year-old said the long-term deal and backing from the football department gave him great confidence.
“It shows huge belief on their part that they trust me to be able to perform for that long, it is a lot of faith, and I obviously want to return it,” he said.
“With the length of the deal, it locks me away now. I do not have to think about that or anything else.
“It means heaps to be a one-club player, and I just love being at the Club. I would not want to be or could not imagine being anywhere else, and this kind of seals that.”
Vlastuin added that playing in big games at the MCG in front of the Tiger Army was a definite factor in his decision to commit to Richmond.
“Playing at the G in front of big crowds gives me goosebumps every time. You never really get used to it,” he said.
“It is a lot of fun, so it was definitely a factor. I could not imagine playing (AFL) and not doing that every second week in front of the Tiger Army. They are stuck with me now.”
The deal will take Vlastuin, who was selected No. 9 overall at the 2012 AFL National Draft, to what would be an impressive 14-years at the Club.
“It is a bit scary actually how quick it has gone. I do feel like I have been here for a while, but when you kind of think about this deal taking me to there (14 years), it is a bit different,” he said.
“It’s always been a fun playing group to be around, and I have enjoyed my time with all the boys.”
Despite reaching the ultimate highs in the past four years at Tigerland with three premierships and another finals appearance, Vlastuin said the hunger to succeed had not diminished ahead of his next five.
“You kind of get addicted to winning,” he said.
“We just want to keep doing what we are doing and enjoying it while we are, and hopefully, that can bring some more success. I am really rapt to continue to be a part of it.”
Vlastuin has played 162 games for Richmond since making his debut in Round 5, 2013 against Fremantle.