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Saints lock in emerging pair to new deals

Oliver apology, Goldy's future, Luke's call The Footy Feed team with the latest on a big day of news
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 08: Ben Long of the Saints in action during the 2017 AFL round 16 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Richmond Tigers at Etihad Stadium on July 08, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Ben Long has signed a new deal with the Saints

ST KILDA has secured the services of two of its youngsters, with Ben Long and Bailey Rice both committing to the club until the end of 2019.

Rice, the son of former Saint and Blue Dean, was due to come out of contract at the end of the season after he was drafted at No.49 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft as a father-son selection.

Meanwhile, Long has penned a one-year extension. The small forward has played three games in his debut season after he was drafted at No.25 last year.

A relative of dual Essendon premiership player Michael Long, he told saints.com.au life was different from when he grew up in the Northern Territory.

"Growing up, watching teams run out in front of thousands of people – when I got to do it myself, it really hit home how far I've come since junior footy in Darwin," Long said.

"It's been great to get a taste of senior footy this year and I'm really keen to improve and hopefully cement my place in the side."

Rice is a defender who has impressed in the VFL and came close to making his debut against North Melbourne last month.

"We've had quite a few other players sign recently. It's a really exciting time to be at the club," Rice told the club website.

"Glandular fever hit me pretty hard in 2016, but my year so far has been pretty solid.

"I've played six or so games of some of my best footy and I just want to keep that up and put my hand up for the AFL team."

Saints chief operating officer Ameet Bains is delighted with the re-signings.

"We think both Ben and Bailey are going to be very important players for us moving forward given the development they each have shown, so we're very happy they've recommitted to the club," Bains said.

"It's important we continue to bring through young players each year to continue to grow and improve our playing list."