Cooney re-signs with Western Bulldogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cooney re-signs with Western Bulldogs

11/05/2010 04:39:09 PM Comments (0)

The battle to keep Ryan Griffen and Jarrod Harbrow will become the new priority for the Western Bulldogs, after locking away their biggest star Adam Cooney.

The 2008 Brownlow Medallist has re-signed until the end of 2013, a deal which means the Gold Coast can not swoop at the end of this season, or Western Sydney after the two to follow.

The 24-year-old, 2003 No.1 draft pick, would have been high on the list of the Gold Coast, whose efforts to land a star player they can build their inaugural playing list around are steadily being thwarted.

Cooney joins a group already including St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt and fellow Queenslander Sam Gilbert and Hawthorn stars Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell, while the AFL's 17th club also seem destined to miss out on Geelong guns Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood.

Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade, describing the Cooney deal as a "coup", said the AFL code of player loyalty was holding true, despite the money on offer for players willing to head to a new club.

"I know it's a little bit different for the AFL this year and next year with the two new teams coming in, but generally it's a loyalty-based industry," Eade said.

"I think we're a bit different to other footy codes.

"I think the AFL were probably worried three years ago that there were only seven trades for the year, I think that just shows players want to stay.

"So we were fairly confident that (our) players would stay."

Cooney, who said securing his future should aid his focus on football, agreed the attraction of being a one-club player remained a strong force.

"A lot of guys have signed up (with their current clubs) and it just shows the loyalty players are showing to their clubs, which is good," he said.

"I think there's still a couple of big names that haven't signed up that (Gold Coast) might secure, but we'll just have to wait and see."

Eade said it was a relief to secure Cooney, as his contract status could otherwise have become a distraction.

"There have been 10 or 15 players that have signed up with their clubs and now the media will move on to other players and for those particular clubs it will be a distraction, no doubt."

But the Bulldogs will remain a focus of some of that attention unless they can quickly engineer new deals for pacy 21-year-old running defender Harbrow and exciting 23-year-old midfielder Griffen.

Queenslander Harbrow, who has been in superb form this season, will be a particular source of conjecture.

His manager, Peter Lenton, reinforced on Tuesday comments made earlier this season that the skilful left-footer would almost certainly wait until the end of the year before signing, to get a clearer gauge of his worth.

"At the moment he's playing really good football and that's how we're going to leave it," he said.

"I've mentioned to the Bulldogs we would like to sit it out just to see how he's going."

Dogs football manager James Fantasia said he did not want to add to the speculation by publicly commenting on the progress of discussions with Harbrow and Griffen.

"We're in negotiations, but we're simply not making comment about any of our contract situations apart from today's announcement, today is Adam's day," Fantasia said.

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