WITH his AFL future secured at North Melbourne, Shaun Higgins has moved to set the record straight about the protracted contract negotiations that fed speculation he was off to Geelong.
Higgins joined ruckman Todd Goldstein in shunning interest from the Cats to sign a one-year contract extension that ties him to the Kangaroos until the end of the 2021 season.
In announcing the deal on Tuesday, the Roos said Higgins had turned down longer, more lucrative deals to re-commit to Rhyce Shaw’s vision for the future.
Both parties put negotiations on hold until the end of an eventful season where Higgins had shoulder surgery and coach Brad Scott departed.
But Higgins said that pause was about ensuring he was still part of the new coach’s plans and not trying to secure another year or two and more money out of the club.
“If they saw that it was best fit to re-build and move on senior players then I was open to helping them under those circumstances,” Higgins said on Tuesday.
“So that’s how the conversation started.
“If that wasn’t the case then I’m here to commit and I want to commit long term so all those boxes were ticked and we’re here today.
“Unfortunately there was a lot of misinformation being put out there and it’s good to be able to clear it all up and set the record straight by announcing this new deal.”
Higgins will turn 32 before next season starts, but the two-time best-and-fairest winner has enjoyed career-best form in recent years.
It was that form that saw him linked to a move to Geelong at this year’s trade period, with Chris Scott’s side preparing to fill a hole left by Tim Kelly’s looming departure.
His re-signing is a significant boost for the Roos, who also signed Goldstein to a three-year extension and added Jade Rawlings, Jared Rivers and Brendan Whitecross to a revamped coaching panel.
“It’s certainly an exciting time at North and as a leader, I want to be a part of it and help usher in a new era of success,” Higgins said.
“So an exciting pre-season, a big pre-season, and we’ve put everything else to rest so we look forward to getting underway.”
Higgins has played 220 AFL games, joining North from Western Bulldogs at the end of the 2014 campaign.
© AAP 2019