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North re-signs four young guns

NORTH Melbourne has confirmed new deals for midfielder Andrew Swallow, forwards Ben Warren and Robbie Tarrant and 2008 draftee Sam Wright.

All four players have signed until the end of 2011, with Wright extending his current contract by another season.

Swallow has played every game for the Roos this year for a career total of 59 and list manager Cameron Joyce said the club had been rapt with his contribution.

After form and injury limited Swallow to just three matches in 2008, the 22-year-old has fought back to a position where he should figure prominently in the club's best and fairest count.

"We think he's a potential leader of the football club and we're obviously excited about having him around for the next two years," Joyce said.

Warren, 20, was taken at No.69 in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft and after two years of development, finally made his debut in round four this season.

The side's best-performing forward in his first eight games, he suffered a cheekbone fracture in the last of those and then broke his leg upon his return in round 13.

Joyce agreed that the Queenslander had needed to make inroads this season but that North also had to prepare for the interest he might have received from the Gold Coast franchise.

"Those nine games that he played showed us all some glimpses of what sort of player he could be for the club," Joyce said.

"It was a priority for us to lock Ben in and give him an opportunity to become a consistent AFL player."

Tarrant, the Roos' first selection (No.15 overall) in 2007, is recovering from his third shoulder reconstruction since arriving at Arden Street.

However, he remains very highly rated because of his size, strength and potential.

"He's had two average seasons injury-wise," Joyce said. "As a club, we're backing Robbie in all the way.

"He's just had a big operation on his shoulder, which at this stage has gone really well. We think he can be a terrific player for us."

Wright was selected at No.27 in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft and, despite initial views that his frame would prevent him from playing in his first season, managed four games.

Joyce said the willingness to extend the 19-year-old's contract so soon showed both a belief in his ability and the club's greater aims.

"Bryce Lewis (talent ID manager) has done a terrific job in identifying talent and we want to make sure that we're able to bring a group of players through together," he said.

"We've got a young list and we'll try to lock players away the best we can, knowing what the two new teams and their draft concessions will present in the next few years."