Werribee has locked away another key piece in its midfield as it prepares to become a stand-alone club in the Victorian Football League in 2018.

The Tigers are thrilled to have Tom Gribble back on board after he extended his contract in the week of his 23rd birthday and starts preparing for a fifth season with the club.

“I’ve grown to love the people around the club and I’ve formed strong bonds with all the players,” Gribble said.

“When you’re spending four days a week with them and loving every one of them, it makes the decision to go around again very easy.”

Gribble was a mainstay of the Werribee midfield this season. Both a hard runner and an in-and-under player, Gribble brought up his 50th game during the year.

Gribble has been a case of slow burn, as injuries have unfortunately dogged him since his arrival at Werribee. He missed the entire 2015 season.

But Gribble has always been highly rated at Werribee and the club felt he was worth the persistence. His loyalty was rewarded this season with elevation to the club’s leadership group.

While his stoppage work and link-up play is an asset, Gribble admits he needs to work on his disposal efficiency.

“I’ve had a chat with [senior coach John Lamont], and there are a couple of things I need to work on that should be really easy to fix,” he said.

“If I can improve on them and get the body right, hopefully that will improve my game.”

Gribble is excited by Werribee’s stand-alone status.

The Tigers will have continuity without the selection surprises that used to come through their alignment with North Melbourne.

“It’s just going to be good knowing the blokes you’re training with three nights a week will be the ones out there on game day,” Gribble said.

“That personal connection should really translate on the footy field.”

Lamont is confident that Gribble’s best football is still to come.

He appreciates that Gribble’s role in the midfield can work as both an inside and outside mid, but reckons he can also do damage in the forward line.

“We want to be a team that’s flexible and Tom brings that,” Lamont said.

“He’s heavily committed to his footy, he reads the game well and he has learned how to win the ball.

“I’m expecting him to really grow and mature as a player.

“We’ve got the environment we’re after now, so he’ll be a guy who can really drive some standards around training and how we want to play, and have some ownership of that midfield group.”