Gardner signs on for another two years

The Hisense Cronulla Sharks today received the perfect Christmas present - the signature of boom youngster Nathan Gardner on an extended two-year deal.

After a breakthrough season in the NRL the rookie fullback agreed to an upgraded contract, which will see him remain at the club until at least the end of the 2013 season.

The exciting deal was penned with the help of his manager, John Frare, with both parties keen on putting pen to paper before the New Year.

“It’s exactly what I wanted,” Gardner said.

“I didn’t want to start the season off contract so it’s good to know I’ll be here for at least another three years.

“I couldn’t be happier with the club, everyone has been amazing and I love playing for the Sharks.”

Gardner enjoyed a stellar season for the Sharks where he finished as the club’s leading try scorer in his debut year.

The 20-year-old scored eight tries and was also equal leading point-scorer in 2010, claiming 54-points alongside retired winger Luke Covell.

“2010 was obviously a massive year for myself in so many ways.”

“I joined the club at the start of the season and was just hoping to get one game under my belt, but I ended up playing sixteen straight and couldn’t have asked for anymore.”

“My big test now is to really cement the fullback spot and make it my own and to do that I need to keep improving my game and playing consistent footy.”

Gardner said having representative players like Paul Gallen and Jeremy Smith at the club was also an added bonus.

“Having such experienced and competitive players in the side gives you so much more confidence.”

“I’m so excited for the 2011 season to kick off and knowing that we have a solid team with a great coach puts no doubt in my mind that we will be successful.”

“The Sharks are only on the up and I’m very happy being a part of it.”

Head coach Shane Flanagan admitted re-signing Gardner was a big priority for the club.

“It’s great news for the Sharks and I’d like to think Nathan will be our fullback for the next five to ten years,” Flanagan said.

“I look back at some of the successful Sharks era’s and they’ve all had a quality fullback like Peachey and Docking.

“I had doubts about his size early on, but I’m confident Nathan can be that player and really stamp his authority on the game.

“He had a brilliant first season, scoring two length of the field tries and he has certainly taken some steps during the pre season to ensure 2011 will be just as good, if not better.”

The Sharks NRL squad will resume pre-season training in early January.