THE tide is finally turning for the Brisbane Lions with Sam Mayes signing a new three-year deal.
The Lions have stemmed the flow of departures this year with 18 new contracts, but Mayes’ signature is the most significant signing in several years.
The 22-year-old had one foot out the door at the end of last season when player-coach relations at the Gabba were at a low.
He had told the Lions he was not interested in entering contract talks until the second half of the season.
However, he approached the club before that deadline with the revelation he was happy and wanted to stay.
It could be argued ruckman Stefan Martin was the first player who wanted out only to change his mind, but Brisbane were not prepared to concede to his request to look for a trade.
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When he re-signed in the pre-season it was for money and length of contract he would not have received anywhere else.
It is understood Mayes’ salary is a little over $1.1 million over three years with the potential to push that to $1.2 million if he triggers certain performances clauses.
It is a fair deal for a top-10 draft pick who has the potential to be a very good player, but who has not yet stamped himself as a star of the competition.
It will also fortify Brisbane’s resolve in negotiations with small forward duo Lewis Taylor and Josh Green, whose managers are pushing for massive money.
Managers negotiate hard, banking on Brisbane’s poor retention history and the fear of losing face within the competition if more players walk out.
It is understood Taylor is asking for $500,000 while Green’s price is in the mid-$400,000s.
Lions list manager Peter Schwab said Mayes signing was a major boost for the club and a reward for taking his game to a new level.
“His form has been very good,’’ he said.
“As one of our long-term players it is fantastic to have Sam re-sign.”