SUNS young gun Connor Budarick has signed a two-year contract extension which will see him remain with the club until at least the end of 2022.
The SUNS Academy graduate has had an outstanding first season with the SUNS after being selected as a priority rookie prior to the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.
Budarick has played every match for the SUNS in 2020 and said he couldn’t wait for the years to come.
“It’s obviously awesome news and it’s great to get that reassurance to be able to hang around for another few years,” he said.
“Playing for a club that you grew up supporting, it was a childhood dream and now it’s become a reality.
“We’ve got that young core group and we all want to stick together and think that we have great potential as a team going forward.
After impressing in the pre-season, Budarick quickly earned the trust of his teammates and coaches and has regularly been given the responsibility of taking on the competition’s most dangerous small forwards.
In his 14 games, the Gold Coast local has averaged almost 10 disposals, two tackles and three marks per game.
His best game came in Round 3 against Adelaide where he had 16 disposals and a goal, earning a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.
The 19-year-old was also honoured this week with selection in the 22Under22 squad, recognising the best players aged 22 and under in the AFL competition.
“At the start of the year I was hoping to have a good pre-season and then maybe debut Round 1,” he said.
“For that to happen and to be able to play every game since, is great.
“I’ve definitely exceeded the expectations that I had on myself at the start of the year so it’s been going well so far.”
SUNS GM – Football Operations Jon Haines said the contract extension was well-deserved.
“‘We have always admired Connor’s professionalism and dedication as he progressed through the GC SUNS Academy and these attributes have held him in great stead in his debut AFL season. He has had an immediate impact on the team and club culture and his commitment represents further validation of the level of belief and trust within the playing group,” Haines said.
Budarick’s extension follows those of Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson and continues some positive news to come out of the club including setting a membership record and eight young SUNS named in the 22 Under22 squad.