Hawthorn have locked away Jaeger O'Meara for another four years in a move that could help them secure another key AFL trade target.
The former Gold Coast midfielder has become the leader of Hawthorn's engine room in the absence of injured Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell.
While he missed last week's loss to St Kilda with a sore hip, O'Meara was comfortably among the Hawks' best in each of their first three games.
The 25-year-old's decision to sign a long-term extension will bolster the Hawks' hopes of luring GWS star Stephen Coniglio, who is close friends with O'Meara.
Coniglio is a restricted free agent at season's end, meaning the Giants can match any offer for his services.
The expansion club is also hopeful of retaining Josh Kelly, who has been circled by Melbourne-based clubs for the past several years.
O'Meara missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons through injury and managed just six games in his 2017 debut campaign for the Hawks.
He bounced back to play 21 games last year and place fifth in the club's best and fairest count.
Hawks football boss Graham Wright said the club was thrilled to have secured a long-term commitment from O'Meara.
"He's become such an important player for us, not only through his on-field performance but also from a leadership sense as well," Wright said.
"He sets a great example for his teammates with his professionalism and work ethic.
"We're excited to watch his continued development over the coming years."
Australian Associated Press