Promising defender Josh Rotham has put pen to paper on a three-year contract extension, keeping him in blue and gold until at least the end of 2024.
A lifelong West Coast fan, Rotham was delighted to ink a new deal that will take him through until his eighth season with the club after he was drafted from West Perth via pick 37 in 2016.
“Really pumped. Obviously I’m at the club I grew up loving and now I’m playing for, so really happy to be staying put,” Rotham said.
The contract comes after a personal best season for the versatile 193cm backman, who showed some of his athletic traits by winning the Grand Final Sprint on Saturday ahead of speedy teammates Jack Petruccelle and Liam Ryan.
Rotham’s ability to compete in the air with marking forwards or at ground level with zippy smalls was on display during 19 games this year as he took another step forward.
The 23-year-old also got more involved with the Eagles’ ball movement, and averaged the second-most marks per game in the AFL (8.5 per game) behind Geelong’s Tom Stewart (8.9).
“You go into every season wanting to improve, and I think I did that,” Rotham said.
“We’ve got really good competition for spots, so to come away playing 19 games was pleasing for me and hopefully I can just take another step next year.
“I think my improvement came from a bit of playing on the talls and smalls, and then I had a few games where I played on the most dangerous small.
“So I think I just improved with my versatility and just my consistency throughout the year.”
With 33 games under his belt, Rotham is growing into a dependable member of the Eagles’ backline, which also featured youngsters Harry Edwards and Luke Foley more often in 2021.
“Our defensive unit continues to evolve and this year at times we had a much younger backline than previous seasons, which provided opportunities for growth,” senior coach Adam Simpson said.
“Josh is an important part of our future and his flexibility to play tall or small is a real asset, so it is pleasing he has re-signed with the club.
“We’re excited to see him continue to develop and help lead our emerging young players.”
Rotham follows Jack Redden and Liam Duggan by signing contract extensions recently.