North Melbourne veteran Todd Goldstein says he’s keen to play out his career at the club while revealing he “wasn’t ready” to move to Geelong three years ago when he tried to lure him.
Reports emerged last month that Goldstein, who turns 34 in July and is an unrestricted free agent, was expected to look for a new home at the end of the season.
It comes as the Kangaroos languish in the bottom two on the ladder amid a disappointing season with a surplus of ruck options including Tristan Xerri, who’s reportedly closing in on a three-year extension.
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But speaking on Fox Footy’s On the Couch on Monday night, the 286-gamer declared his commitment to extend his Roos tenure into what would be his 16th AFL season.
However Goldstein confirmed contact talks with North Melbourne remain up in the air.
“I hope so, I really do (stay at North). I love this footy club, I’ve spent 15 years — nearly half my life — at this club, so I do really love the club. I’d love to play 300 games, I’ve always said that, for this footy club,” Goldstein said.
“The direction the club is going in — I don’t know. Those conversations haven’t happened yet for beyond this year. The way I run my team, so to speak, I let my manager Tom Petroro take control of talking to the footy club and talking to other clubs if that’s what it comes to.
“And when he’s got something to present to me we’ll sit own and have a chat. He hasn’t come to me yet, so as far as I’m aware, not a lot of chats beyond this year have happened, but I’m definitely motivated to keep playing.”
The Roos big man has gotten back to some of his best form in recent weeks since moving back into his customary ruck position after Xerri got struck down with injury.
Reflecting on his decision to stay at Arden Street three years ago amid interest from the Cats, Goldstein said it made sense for him at the time while he battled personal issues.
But he said if North doesn’t table him a new deal this time round, he’ll consider his options elsewhere.
“For me at that point in time, I wasn’t ready to move. I’d just got through a few mental things that I’d been struggling with for a few years, I’d finally got myself in a good place, and for me and my family the best option was to stay at the footy club, Goldstein said.
“If North Melbourne don’t offer me a contract or if it’s not going to be a good situation for me, you do take into account whether you want to win a flag. But there’s many other aspects, and you put it all on the table and weigh it up with my family, my management, and we’ll make a decision with what’s going to be best for me and the outcome.”
It comes after Goldstein made headlines a fortnight ago following an on-field argument with Pick 1 draftee Jason Horne-Francis during the team’s clash with the Giants.
Horne-Francis has particularly come under scrutiny in the fallout over questions around his attitude and loyalty to the club amid talk he could seek a move back to South Australia after putting off contract talks.
Acknowledging Horne-Francis needed to “work on his body language,” Goldstein downplayed his exchange with the youngster, emphasizing that he’s still finding his feet in the AFL system and has endorsed such feedback.
“That’s a conversation that happens 100-200 times a game between players and obviously this one was caught up with,” Goldstein said.
“I understand what ‘Jas’ is like as a person and he is an incredibly emotional player at the moment. We look at him as a 22-23-year old with his body, the way he plays his game, but he’s still an 18-year old kid.
“His emotions sometimes still get the better of him, so I didn’t take any offense to that. I was shocked when I saw that it had been highlighted as much it has.
“He asked us when he does have those moments to try and pull him back in — that’s all it was, was trying to get him focused back on task. We’ve had a few conversations since then about it and there’s no issues from my end.
“I understand that he can lose it a little bit at times with his emotions, but it’s about reeling them back in and teaching that 18-year old kid how to manage those as a skill he’s got to learn.
“He’s got to work on his body language and things like that and he’s well aware of these issues that he’s openly said to the team in meetings that when he is like that, go back at him, pull him back into line, because that’s the only way he’s going to get better.”