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Young Giants trio sign contract extensions

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Adam Kennedy of the Greater Western Sydney Giants in action during the 2014 AFL Round 17 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the GWS Giants at Patersons Stadium, Perth on July 13, 2014. (Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Promising defender Adam Kennedy was one of three Giants to sign a new deal with the club
GREATER Western Sydney is targeting a finals berth in 2016 after announcing three more re-signings on Thursday.
 
Defenders Adam Kennedy and Nick Haynes and ruckman Rory Lobb, who were all coming off contract at the end of next season, have extended their deals until the end of 2017.
 
With Jonathon Patton also extending his contract to the same period last week, GWS is starting to gain some momentum as it attempts to keep the rest of the AFL at bay.
 
"Rory, Nick and Adam have shown great faith in the club and it's a further endorsement of the strong culture we have here at the Giants," chief executive Dave Matthews said on Thursday.
 
"Off the back of Jonathon Patton's announcement last week, we're just delighted that three of our young stars have locked in and see their futures at this club.
 
"To have this sort of momentum at the end of the season and heading into the season ahead is really important for the club."
 
A swag of young Giants are coming off contract at the end of 2015, including Jeremy Cameron, Dylan Shiel, Adam Treloar, Stephen Coniglio and No.1 draft pick Tom Boyd.
 
Despite regular speculation a number of players are keen to explore the possibility of returning to their home states, the club has constantly repeated its stance it believes the vast majority will remain in Sydney's west.
 
The Giants have improved from just three wins over their first two years to five in 2014.
 
Across the whole season they have been far more competitive, with their percentage increasing from an AFL-worst 50.97 last year to 75.3 this season, well ahead of established clubs Melbourne (67.9) and St Kilda (61.8).
 
Finals within two years are now in the ambitious club's thinking.
 
"We hope to play finals sooner rather than later," Matthews said.
 
"You probably don't want to put a real time frame on it yet, but we started the year targeting four-to-six wins (and) improving our percentage to about 80.
 
"All the measures, inside 50s and all the things (coach) Leon (Cameron) sets as benchmarks, have progressed very, very well this year.
 
"You'd love to think we could push up and win eight-to-10 next year and the year after, who knows?
 
"We're certainly very, very ambitious about our plans on the footy field in the next couple of years."
 
Asked specifically about making finals in 2016, Matthews replied: "Possibly.
 
"You'd like to think if you continued this trajectory you'd be in the calculations for finals in 2016."
 
Consistent small defender Kennedy has played 54 games for the Giants, fifth on their all-time list, but will miss their final match against the Western Bulldogs following shoulder surgery on Tuesday.
 
Haynes has played 27 games, including eight this year, before a serious ankle injury in round eight also ended his season early.
 
Lobb is a ruck project who played two games this season and he admits the desire to return home to Perth had been a major factor.
 
But he wants to be part of GWS' future.
 
"I gave it a fair bit of thought because living so far away from Perth, it was really hard with family missing me," he said.
 
"They can't just fly over for the weekend, it's a bit of a trek.
 
"But I feel really comfortable here, the Lamberts (GWS welfare managers Craig and Melissa Lambert) have really helped me settle in. I've got good friends around me and I've had a little taste of the AFL.
 
"I really want some more and feel like this club is definitely going somewhere."