MELBOURNE has signed hard-nut utility James Harmes and rebounding defender/winger Josh Wagner to new deals.
Harmes has locked in a two-year deal and will remain with the club until at least the end of 2020, and Wagner has secured a one-year contract until at least the end of the 2019 season.
General manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said Harmes and Wagner had earned their new deals after working their way onto the senior list.
“Both James and Josh started on our rookie list. Both have progressed on to the main list and we have been pleased with their development to now and the improvement that is still within them,” he said.
Harmes has played 58 matches for Melbourne since making his AFL debut in round 15, 2015 against Essendon at the MCG.
Originally from Devon Meadows/Dandenong Stingrays, Harmes was claimed by Melbourne at No.2 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, held in December 2013.
He gained a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in 2016.
The 22-year-old said he was “very excited” to stay with the club he barracked for growing up.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the club for the rest of this season and the next two years,” Harmes said.
“We’ve been speaking [about a new contract] since the start of the year and it probably took a little bit longer for both of us to get the right deal, but we came to an agreement and I’m really happy and the club is really happy as well. It’s good for both parties.
“I didn’t consider any other options, even though my manager spoke to a few other clubs, but I wanted to stay as a Dee, as I was a Melbourne supporter as a kid.
“I rang the family last week and told them that the deal was done, so they’re really happy and they’re really excited for what the future holds for me. I didn’t want to leave and I’m glad it’s all over now, so I can focus on footy.
“My form’s been pretty good, but if I can clean up a few things, then I can take my game to the next level.”
Harmes said he was relieved to know he would remain in the red and blue.
“I was getting a little bit worked up over how long it was taking, but once the deal was done, it was a little bit of weight off the shoulder,” he said.
“Now I’ve got two more years, which is great, as I know where I’m heading with my life.”
Wagner, 24, has played 28 matches for Melbourne since making his debut in round three, 2016 against North Melbourne in Hobart.
Originally from Aspley, Wagner came to Melbourne via the NAB AFL Rookie Draft (held in late 2015) at pick No.6.
The Queenslander said he had no hesitation in staying with Melbourne.
“I got approached by the club a couple of weeks ago, and then my manager worked it out and got it done,” he said.
“I wanted to stay at Melbourne. I’ve got some really good friends here and I’m very happy here, so it was great to sign.”