Harrison Himmelberg rejects free agency offers to stay a Giant

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In-form Giants defender Harrison Himmelberg has declined the interest of Sydney and Richmond and will remain at Greater Western Sydney for the next six seasons.

The decision was confirmed by a source with knowledge of the deal who was not authorised to speak publicly. The source said the club would announce the 27-year-old had spurned free agency offers to remain at GWS.

Toby Bedford and Harry Himmelberg celebrate the Giants’ win over Fremantle.Credit: AFL Photos

Himmelberg has been instrumental in helping the Giants rebound up the ladder in 2023. The club has won its past seven games, with Himmelberg moving into defence alongside All-Australian defender Sam Taylor.

Himmelberg’s ability to play either end of the ground and also in the ruck had him considered a key signature for the Giants, particularly because his age means he bridges the gap on the club’s list between the established stars and a bevy of players with raw talent aged under 22.

The Brisbane Lions also locked in defender Jack Payne for the next five seasons after his breakout year alongside Harris Andrews in 2023.

Payne was not due to come out of contract until the end of next season, but got in early to pen a bumper new deal that will keep him with the Lions until at least the end of 2029.

The club is yet to formally confirm the extension, but a video of the 23-year-old discussing his new contract was briefly posted online on Wednesday night.

In the absence of Marcus Adams, who is sidelined indefinitely with concussion issues, Payne has stepped up to play a vital role in the Lions’ defence alongside dual All-Australian Harris Andrews.

The hulking Payne, a former discuss thrower, had played just 27 games before this season but has only missed one match this year when he was out with concussion against Adelaide in round 11.

Payne’s emergence has freed Andrews up in defence as the Lions co-captain has put together his best season since securing his second All-Australian in 2020.

With AAP

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