MELBOURNE has re-started discussions with Jeremy Howe's management in an effort to hold onto the athletic Demon on the back of announcing a contract extension for ruckman Max Gawn.
Gawn announced a new three-year deal on Friday morning, but high-flying Howe remains out of contract after deciding to put off talks until the end of the year.
By restarting talks with one month remaining this season the Demons appear to have had a breakthrough, with Howe enjoying a strong patch of form as a rebounding defender.
"Players are at different levels in terms of what they want to do, so we've been mindful of Jeremy just wanting to play his football," coach Paul Roos said on Friday.
"Then you contact managers at the respective times and you work out when the player's ready to sit down seriously.
"With Jeremy we've just started talking to his manager again about what he wants to do.
"We're really keen to have him part of the footy club … he's started to settle in as a defensive player and is playing some really good footy."
Roos said a sense of stability about the future at Melbourne, with Simon Goodwin set to take over as coach at the end of next season, had played a part in encouraging players to commit for the future.
Aaron vandenBerg and Angus Brayshaw both extended their contracts during their first year at the club, and important midfielders Nathan Jones and Jack Viney extended late last year.
"I think the plan's in place and now we just have to improve on-field to try and attract players from other clubs and for our players to continue to sign," he said.
More to come