NORTH MELBOURNE has made the signature of star midfielder Daniel Wells its next priority, having ensured Drew Petrie will remain a Kangaroo for another three years.
The club announced yesterday that Petrie had re-signed until the end of 2011 and now it is seeking a similar commitment from Wells, whose resurgent form over the past month has helped the Kangaroos challenge for a top-four spot.
"There is no doubt that we are 100-miles-an-hour to have Daniel Wells at the footy club for the next three or four years, play his whole career out with us," football operations manager Donald McDonald said.
North has already extended the contracts of ruckman Hamish McIntosh, key defenders Michael Firrito and Daniel Pratt, along with midfielder Brady Rawlings and forward Corey Jones.
Wells is the only member of that core group yet to be re-signed, as North turns its attention to securing its next generation of stars, including round-18 rising star nominee Gavin Urquhart.
"It takes time, there's no rush. We'll just keep working our way through," McDonald said. " There's a fair few blokes there that we want to really lock away. But you can't do them all in the one week."
■After nine major operations since day one of Port Adelaide's AFL journey in 1997, Michael Wilson has reluctantly retired.
His right knee has a hole in the bone that is growing by the day. It is also split. He recalled how he was training when he first feared his career was ending.
"Everything seemed to be going OK, but I stepped out to the side and felt a squelch, crack and a pop," Wilson, 31, said yesterday.
"And after having my knee drained a number of times, training and not being able to walk for 10 days, it was kind of an indicator."
Sitting with Wilson at yesterday's announcement was his wife, Leah, their four children, including twins, and his coach, Mark Williams.
Upon the retirement of Gavin Wanganeen at the end of the 2006 season, Williams rated him the bravest player he had known. Yesterday, he placed Wilson alongside him.
"In the scheme of things, Michael hit blokes a lot harder than Gavin did and smashed them into the ground and really hurt the opposition," Williams said. "That's fantastic to have in a side."
It was why Wilson missed 86 games because of injury in his 12-year career.
With ASHLEY PORTER
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