Dan Walsh, NRL.com
Origin back-rower Chris McQueen has extended his current contract with the Rabbitohs, tying him to the club until the end of 2016.
McQueen, who made a surprise return from an ankle syndesmosis injury in Souths' heavy defeat of Newcastle last weekend, had previously been the subject of rumoured moves to the Cowboys and arch-rivals the Roosters throughout the year.
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The Rabbitohs' retention of the 27-year-old second-rower, who has played 84 games since debuting in 2009 and also represented Queensland five times over the last two years, shores up Michael Maguire's back row options for next year as the impending departures of Sam Burgess and Ben Te'o draw closer.
Maguire said McQueen's new deal, expected to be a healthy upgrade on his current contract given his rise to the representative ranks in recent years, is just reward for his rapid improvement over the past two seasons.
"Chris has really grown as a player and a person over the last three years and has made a solid transition from an outside back to the forward pack," Maguire said.
"I see a massive upside in Chris and his continual growth in the forwards.
"His performances with our club have led him to be selected to represent his state and that's something that he and everyone at the club are very proud of.
"We're delighted to have agreed to terms with him on an extended contract."
McQueen said he was pleased to continue his association with the foundation club.
"Playing for South Sydney and representing the club and the members is something I'm very proud of and something I don't take for granted," McQueen said.
"I'm in a privileged position to wear the red and green on the field and I'm proud to be the 1070th player to play first grade at the Rabbitohs.
"I always wanted to remain at the club and hopefully we can achieve our goals and earn the success that we are working so hard for."