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Joel Jeffrey signs mega extension at Suns, locks in shot at returning home for games in NT

Jarred Cross -

Gold Coast utility Joel Jeffrey has signed a monster four-year contract extension sewing up his place at the club until the end of 2028.

The Suns clearly see a bright future for the 21 year-old, locking him in for the long-term despite limited opportunity in the senior side.

Jeffrey has played 16 senior games since his debut in 2021 - featuring heavily in the club's reserves premiership season in 2023.

He played a crucial role down back in the Suns' 19-point win over Werribee in September's VFL grand final.

"I was really keen to show my loyalty to the club and sign on long term with our exciting future ahead," Jeffrey said.

"The club has shown faith in me and I can see we're going to have some great success in the coming years so I want to do everything I can to help the club towards that goal."

Jeffrey averaged 10 disposals and three tackles across seven AFL games this year, prompting some raised eyebrows on putting pen-to-paper on Monday.

Controversial footy pundit Kane Cornes wrote to X to label the extension an "Automatic qualification to the hall of fame of stupid contracts".

The faith is strong, however, amongst the club.

"When Joel first joined the club he was very talented, but what has been most impressive has been seeing all the extra work he puts in to get the most out of himself on-field," Suns general manager of player talent & strategy Craig Cameron said.

"He's developed himself into such a versatile player who we can use at either end of the ground and I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty more of what Joel can offer at AFL level in the years to come."

The announcement came as Gold Coast sured-up their footprint in Darwin over the coming seasons.

The Suns will host two home games at TIO Stadium in 2024, with a reaffirmed commitment to play in the top end until the end of 2026.

Jeffrey is one of seven Suns with ties to the Territory.

Following the club's Sir Doug Nicholls Round win over the Western Bulldogs in Darwin, Jeffrey, a Darwin Buffaloes product, told National Indigenous Times he soaked up the opportunity to play back at home.

"Playing Junior footy here it was my favourite oval to come to," Jeffrey said after the match.

"Last year I finally got the opportunity to play an AFL game (here)...to come back and play in front of family and friends was an unreal experience and a dream come true."

The 21-year-old asked for 30 tickets to be organised for loved ones leading up to the match.

"I've been pretty busy taking photos. So it brings a lot of joy and happiness to my face. And this is why I do it - for them," Jeffrey said.

On Monday, Jeffrey said it is a "privilege" to play in his hometown, and one he doesn't take for granted

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