PORT Adelaide has padlocked an influential trio of first-year rookies, tying Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma to long-term AFL deals.
Rozee, Butters and Duursma, all in the midst of impressive debut seasons, have signed contract extensions until the end of the 2022 season.
The trio, picks number five, 12 and 18 respectively in last year’s draft, have re-signed along with first-year defender Joel Garner and Jake Patmore, an untested 20-year-old recovering from a pre-season knee reconstruction.
“We’re grateful that they’re seeing fit to want to stick around,” Port coach Ken Hinkley told SEN radio on Tuesday.
“Those three and other blokes that have played this year, we have debuted six players, we have had some great results with them.
“We hope it continues because we need it to continue.”
South Australian Rozee, 19, appears a lock for a top-three Rising Star finish – he has played every game and kicked 20 goals, being goal-less only three times.
Victorian winger Duursma, 19, has also played every game and is a Rising Star nominee while Butters, 18, has missed just one match.
Backman Garner, who debuted in round nine, has signed on until the end of 2021 while the luckless Patmore, injured in his second year at Port, has a one-year extension.
The re-signing announcement follows Port’s 57-point thrashing of home-town rivals Adelaide which Hinkley described as a “pretty dominant performance”.
Scans on Scott Lycett’s sore knee have cleared the ruckman of any structural damage, with Hinkley rating him a likely starter against finals-bound Brisbane on Sunday.
Ex-skipper Travis Boak is also tipped to return after being a late scratching against the Crows because of back spasms in the pre-game warm-up.
© AAP 2019