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Star Hawks defender signs new AFL deal

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Jason Phelan

Hawthorn defender Grant Birchall has turned his back on AFL free agency, the Hawks announcing on Thursday he had signed a contract extension.

Birchall was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, but agreed to a deal that ties him to the club until the end of 2019.

"Grant is a really important player for us and a vital member of our back line," list manager Graham Wright said.

"He has been a part of this club for over 10 years now and we were really keen to retain him.

"We are really pleased that Grant has signed on for another two seasons and believe he has plenty of good footy ahead of him."

It is understood Birchall signed the new contract some time ago, with the club waiting to announce the deal after a turbulent trade period that saw fellow veterans Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis depart for West Coast and Melbourne respectively.

The 28-year-old has played 240 AFL games since debuting in 2006 and has featured in the Hawks' past four premiership teams.

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