Graham earns contract extension

05 February 2018 07:29:21 EST

Premiership hero Jack Graham is reported to have re-signed with Richmond through to the end of 2020.

The Tigers have handed him a two-year contract extension after he played five games in his debut campaign.

South Australian Graham, who was due to come out of contract at the end of this season, will stay at Punt Road and try to help Damien Hardwick's side retain the flag.

The 19-year-old was one of the club's stars on Grand Final day, kicking three goals and shutting down Adelaide star Rory Sloane during a crucial period of the game.

Graham was sidelined for the first half of last season by a serious ankle problem.

He returned through the VFL in round 13 and played seven games at state level before forcing himself into the senior side in round 22 and holding his place through the finals.

The Tigers will now look to get gun defender Dylan Grimes secured beyond the end of this season.

Half-back Bachar Houli also comes out of contract this year, while defender Nathan Broad and midfielder Shaun Grigg signed one-year deals for 2018.

Meanwhile, St Kilda midfielder Blake Acres feels he's had the best summer of training in his career as he builds towards the new season.

The 22-year-old has had four seasons of constant growth and is regarded by coach Alan Richardson as having the potential to be one of the AFL's most improved midfielders.

Acres has lifted his game's tally and average disposals each season, playing 18 games last year and averaging 20.3 touches. He twice fought his way back into the senior side after stints in the VFL in 2017.

"I got drafted with Jack (Billings) and Luke (Dunstan) and they both played really early on, so watching them play every game probably drove me a bit more," said Acres.

"I've still got to worry about a spot, but I don't have to go out there at training and kill someone else to get a spot. I can focus on the stuff I need to focus on and not have to worry about that all the time."

St Kilda are 5000/1 to win the Grand Final and 500/1 to finish in the top eight.

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