‘Out of control’: AFL contract trend is totally insane

The AFL’s trend towards long-term contracts has continued with North Melbourne set to secure Harry Sheezel for the rest of the decade, and Essendon signing a young gun until 2029.

Sheezel has played just one AFL season yet is set to sign a deal taking him all the way until free agency at the end of 2030, which would be his eighth campaign in the royal blue and white.

The Rising Star winner also claimed the Kangaroos’ best and fairest award in a remarkable debut season and the looming signature, reported by AFL Media, positions him as a future club captain.

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The Kangaroos will likely look to front-load his contract, paying him plenty while they are down the bottom of the ladder and less when they hope to be contending for finals.

Sheezel joins recent draftees Nick Daicos, Josh Rachele, Jake Soligo and Jye Amiss in signing until they are eligible to become free agents.

Meanwhile Bombers defender Jordan Ridley, who was already secured a year past his free agency eligibility with a deal until the end of 2026, has added another three seasons to his contract.

“It gives me a lot of confidence in where the club is heading with the likes of Zach (Merrett), Ben (McKay), Darcy (Parish) and Mason (Redman) signing on, so I’m really looking forward to playing with them for many years to come. Having ‘Scotty’ (Brad Scott) come in and see how he has led the team has definitely impacted my decision to extend,” Ridley said.

“Looking at clubs like Geelong and Sydney and their sustained success is something I want to achieve with this club.”

Frequent long-term contract critic Kane Cornes declared the trend was “out of control”.

Three players are signed past 2030 across the AFL – Sydney’s Nick Blakey (2031), Port Adelaide’s Connor Rozee (2032) and the Western Bulldogs’ Aaron Naughton (2032).

Originally published as ‘Out of control’: AFL contract trend is totally insane

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