AFL 2024: Tristan Xerri extends contract with North Melbourne

North Melbourne ruckman Tristan Xerri has turned his back on free agency and signed a bumper four-year contract extension in a welcome show of faith for the struggling Kangaroos.

Xerri, 25, was due to become a free agent when his contract expired at the end of next season but agreed to a new deal after an impressive individual start to the season.

Having played only 33 games before this season, the Roo entered the round ranked third in the competition for hit-outs and tackles, and fourth for centre clearances and total clearances.

North Melbourne list boss Brady Rawlings said Xerri was an “important pillar” for the Roos to build their side around.

The ruckman joins Harry Sheezel (2030), Nick Larkey and Jy Simpkin (2029) on long-term deals at Arden Street.

“Tristan is a very important pillar in the club’s plans for the future, so we’re rapt to add him to the list of players who have recommitted long-term,” Rawlings said.

“He’s worked hard to establish himself as our No. 1 ruck over the past 18 months and has not only developed his ruck craft well during his time at Arden Street but also his ability to impact the contest in the air and at ground level.

“We look forward to watching him take his game even further over the coming years.”

Another pair of North Melbourne players face important decisions at the end of this season in Luke Davies-Uniacke and Cam Zurhaar.

Zurhaar, 25, will be a restricted free agent, while Davies-Uniacke is contracted until the end of next season but reportedly put talks on hold as he explores his options.

Coach Alastair Clarkson said the club would do “everything we can” to convince the duo to stay, but conceded the lure of a bigger clubs was strong and money less important to free agents in the current climate.

“We’ll be doing everything we can, just like we did with Ben (McKay), to try to get them to stay, but if they choose to go, that’s the (AFLPA) brief, that they’re given that liberty to explore another club and the opportunity after their seventh or eighth season,” Clarkson said on Wednesday.

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