Paul Ahern knows the future is bright at Arden St and is looking forward to the journey ahead after signing a new deal until the end of the 2020 season.
“Obviously it’s really exciting, I’m keen to be here for another two years and I think the way we’re playing at the moment, we can really go places in the next two years and beyond,” Ahern told North Media.
Despite his best on ground performance against the Eagles in Hobart which included 37 possessions and 12 clearances, the young midfielder says talks had already begun on a new contract.
“It was a couple of weeks in the making, I think probably three or four weeks ago I was speaking to my manager and then we started talking to the club and it was a pretty easy decision in the end.”
Initially drafted to the Giants with pick 7 in 2014, Ahern suffered two ACL injuries and was traded to North knowing he would be sidelined for the 2017 season.
“I never really had doubts [on returning to AFL football], I always thought if I worked hard on my rehab my opportunity would come to make my debut and I think I took that with both hands and am really stoked to have signed on,” he said.
Earning his debut in Round 11 after impressive performances in North’s VFL side, Ahern has made an immediate impact in the midfield.
“It feels like it’s just gone real quick [since debuting], but I think having the likes of Ben Cunnington and Higgo [Shaun Higgins], Ben Jacobs in there have just really helped me with my form and then at training as well just getting the right body work to play inside midfield and they’ve been massive for me,” he added.
“We have a few young boys coming through like Jy Simpkin, Ryan Clarke, those type of players, I think all of us got a really tight bond close friendship so I think that’s going to hold us in really good stead for the next few years.”
North GM football Cameron Joyce said the club is thrilled to have secured Ahern for another two seasons at least.
“We’re obviously really excited to have Paul sign for an addition two years,” Joyce said.
“He has worked really hard through rehab to get to where he is now and has put in some solid performances.
“We see him as a vital part of our midfield now and in the future.”