Wagga footballer Dougal Howard has secured his AFL future by signing a long-term deal with Port Adelaide.
The Wagga Tigers and East Wagga-Kooringal junior has signed a contract extension with the Power, that will see him remain at the club until the end of 2022.
Howard’s current two-year deal was due to expire at the end of the 2019 season but the key defender has signed on for a further three years.
Having already spent four years at Port Adelaide, Howard did not hesitate in committing long-term to the Power.
“I have loved being in Adelaide and have some really good friends here so I see it as home,” Howard told the Port Adelaide website.
“I’ve got some good friends who have also signed on at the club for an extended amount of years and I think the club is heading in the right direction.
“We’ve got the personnel and we’re bringing in some new guys this year to do some really good things, and I feel really positive about us having some real success this year and going forward.
“The length of my contract means I don’t need to worry about it for a while now and I can just focus on improving myself as a player and ensuring I am playing good footy.”
Howard, 22, enjoyed a breakout season in 2018.
He played 20 of Port Adelaide’s 22 games for the year, only missing two due to a broken hand, and established himself as one of the most promising key defenders in the AFL.
Port Adelaide general manager football Chris Davies said the club was thrilled to secure Howard for an extended period.
“Dougal’s size and pace are things we really like in our backline and we expect his continued development in the next few years,” Davies told the Port Adelaide website.
“While he is still relatively inexperienced at AFL level, he has shown his potential in the games he’s played so far and he is an emerging leader amongst the playing group.”
Howard has now notched 30 AFL games at Port Adelaide after being picked up by the Power with selection 56 in the 2014 draft.
Howard overcame a knee reconstruction in the middle of 2016 and bounced back to play finals with Port Adelaide last year.