Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce David Zaharakis has signed a new four-year contract.
The deal will see Zaharakis remain at the Club until at least the end of the 2021 season.
The 27 year-old said he is proud to secure his future with the Club but knows the hard work is just beginning.
“It’s fantastic to get the contract finalised on the eve of what will hopefully be a very exciting finals series for us,” Zaharakis said.
“Essendon has been such a significant part of my life for a long time. I grew up barracking for the Bombers, and over the past nine years I’ve been able to live my childhood dream.
“We have such a proud history of success, and it’s our job as players to ensure that tradition continues.
“We’ve been starved of finals success for such a long time, so it’s time for action and we hope all the hard work, effort and commitment we’ve put in this year pays off over the coming weeks.
“As a playing group we’re committed to ensuring this Club gets back to where it belongs, and the talent and dedication within the playing group provides me with great confidence about the future direction.”
Zaharakis is a Crichton Medal winner who has established a reputation as a big game player.
He kicked the match-winning goal in the 2009 ANZAC Day match and won the ANZAC Day Medal in 2013.
This season the midfielder is averaging career-highs in disposals (26 per game), marks (five per game) and inside 50s (five per game).
Senior Coach, John Worsfold, said Zaharakis sets a great example for his teammates.
“David’s preparation is elite so it’s no surprise he’s been such a consistent performer over a long period of time,” Worsfold said.
“Last year he carried a significant workload in the midfield and played an important leadership role, not only supporting Brendon Goddard, but also mentoring his younger teammates.
“He’s had a slightly different role this year which he’s adapted to really well.
“His running power and skill level makes him a central part of our midfield group for not only this season, but pleasingly the next four years as well.”
Zaharakis has played 169 games for the Club since arriving at the Bombers via the 23rd pick in the 2008 National Draft.
List and Recruiting Manager, Adrian Dodoro, said Zaharakis is entering the prime of his career.
“David is going to play a key role in our midfield over the next four years,” Dodoro said.
“He’s a lifelong Essendon supporter and it’s great to see him continue his commitment to the Club.
“We’ve got an exciting group emerging in the middle of the ground with Zach Merrett’s continual improvement, Darcy Parish’s promise and potentially Andrew McGrath spending more time in there.
“David will continue to play a key leadership role with those young guys and also brings a consistent level of output from which we can build a really strong group around.”