Kangaroos re-sign five key players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos re-sign five key players

24/06/2008 05:47:32 PM Comments (0)

Chief executive Eugene Arocca expects to have the playing future of North Melbourne locked in within the next couple of months after re-signing five key twenty-somethings to multi-year deals.

Ruckman Hamish McIntosh, 23, and fullback Michael Firrito, 24, have agreed to three-year extensions which will keep them at the AFL club until the end of 2011.

And Daniel Pratt, 25, Corey Jones, 27, and Brady Rawlings, 27, have signed new two-year deals.

"We see it as an endorsement of what the club has been achieving over the last six months," Arocca said.

"We've got a number of other players whose contracts will expire at the end of 2008 and we've been talking to them over the last few months.

"... we see this as a first stage and we're pretty excited about it.

"By the end of 2008 we want to have most of the players we see as the future of the club put away."

Two of the Kangaroos' biggest names to fall out of contract at the end of 2008 are full-forward Nathan Thompson and former best-and-fairest winner Shannon Grant, both of whom are in their early 30s.

"Thommo and Shannon have had extensive dialogue with (coach Dean Laidley)," said Kangaroos football operations general manager Donald McDonald.

"I think it's been pretty well documented and there's no rush to do anything there.

"... with those boys it's just a matter of preparing and doing their best every week and we'll see what happens at the end of the year.

"(The five players re-signed today) are our long-term future and Shannon and Thommo are just going to be really focusing on doing the best they can now and then we'll how it all pans out."

Arocca was unconcerned that Pratt, Jones and Rawlings would all be coming out of contract again when the new Gold Coast team was slated to enter the competition in 2011.

Firrito was thrilled to earn an extended three-year deal with the club which turned down the chance to relocate to the tourist strip last year.

"With the three years I'm pretty excited, the club has got a firm direction and so do I," he said.

McIntosh will be sidelined for the next 6-7 weeks with a knee injury.

"The five boys have shown that they've not only been good on the field, but they're quality blokes as well," McDonald said.

"The majority of them are in our leadership group.

"... the bigger picture is that Dean (Laidley) and I have been working pretty hard for the last 18 months to really try and put together a list of blokes that is going to take us to our next success as a football club and this is just the start of that."

North moved back into the top eight last weekend with an upset 27-point win over Hawthorn.

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