vandenBerg rejects Swans to commit to Dees
AARON vandenBerg's love for coach Simon Goodwin has seen him resist a move home to New South Wales to sign a new three-year deal with Melbourne.
The tough midfielder was agonising over a decision to leave the club after being offered a pay rise and multi-year deal by Sydney.
A move north made sense on every level for the former Ainslie midfielder because of his family situation and the death of his father Tony this year.
But his desire to play under third-year coach Goodwin and remain with his mates at Melbourne has seen him commit to the Demons until the end of 2021.
"We are very happy that Aaron has decided to remain a Melbourne player and agreed to a new deal," Melbourne football boss Josh Mahoney said.
"The last two years have been very challenging personally and we understand that this was a tough decision for Aaron, given his family situation and the attraction of moving to Sydney.
"It is a positive reflection of our club and the environment that has been created for the players, and the connection they have together."
Before inking the new deal, vandenBerg's manager said the decision was a tough one.
"He is trying to make a decision between the place he loves and the people he loves," manager Ryan Kogelman said.
"His father died during the year and his mother is selling the family farm to move to Sydney, his brother is in the defence force (in the army) and lives in Sydney and his dad's family is in Sydney.
"He has got an opportunity to be closer to that family but he has an enormous love for Goody and the football club. He is really torn."
Father Tony died this year, leaving VandenBerg to run his industrial supplies business remotely while also concentrating on his return to football after a long-term injury.
The Demons are aware at his best he is a dynamic and powerful player capable of pinch-hitting in the midfield and pushing forward to scrounge a goal.
Despite only 35 games in four years - with an 18-month recovery period dealing with a long-term foot injury - his brand of football means he is very much in demand.
"He has to weigh up both offers. Money won't be his primary decision but it's more about if he can make it work if he stays in Melbourne to have more family time. If he goes, he is surrounded by family. That's the primary issue," Kogelman said.
Melbourne will secure back-up ruckman Braydon Preuss on a deal that could be as long as four years, with the North Melbourne tall having two years on his existing deal on a good wage.
The Demons remain in the race for Gold Coast's Steven May, but will lose Dean Kent to St Kilda for a later pick.
Sydney have expressed interest in Hawthorn free agent Taylor Duryea, with the Swans clearing cap space by moving on Gary Rohan and Dan Hannebery.