Two-time All-Australian and Malcolm Blight Medallist Rory Laird has signed a five-year contract extension to remain with Adelaide until 2026.

The 27-year-old was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season but has committed his long-term future to the Crows before Round One in a significant show of faith in the direction of the Club.

Laird is a major success story at Adelaide, having been drafted as a rookie in 2011 and going on to play 160 games.

He won the Malcolm Blight Medal as Adelaide’s Club champion in 2018 and was named in the All-Australian team in both 2017 and 2018 in the back pocket and on the half-back line.

Last year he graduated from defence into the midfield in a move that is set to become permanent under second-year Crows coach Matthew Nicks who also coached him at school.

As a midfielder Laird averaged 22.8 disposals and three clearances per game in 2020, and finished one vote behind ruckman Reilly O’Brien in the best-and-fairest count.

Adelaide General Manager List Management and Strategy Justin Reid said the Club was delighted to secure Laird on a long-term extension.

“Rory has been a fantastic player for the Adelaide Football Club and that is evident by his two All-Australians and Club champion award over 160 games, and we look forward to seeing him improve even more over the next six seasons,” Reid said.

“But what can’t be measured is how highly regarded he is internally and the influence he is having over our young and developing group.

“He is the total professional, lives the values and standards we expect of our players, leads by example on and off the field and is an important part of the future of our Club.”

Laird said his intention was always to stay with Adelaide and he was thrilled to put pen to paper before the start of this season.

“I love this footy club and the direction we are headed,” Laird said.

“The Club gave me a chance as a rookie and I couldn’t be happier to be signing on for another five seasons.

“In my time at the Crows we have had some great moments and some challenging ones but that is all about the journey we are on and I am really excited by the talent on our list, the coaches we have in place and the next chapter, and I am fully committed to being a part of that.”