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New Zealand represenatative centre Dean Whare has agreed to a three-year extension of his current contract to stay on at Penrith until the end of the 2017 season.

Whare joined the Panthers at the end of 2012 from Manly and has gone from strength to strength over the past year, culminating in an outstanding performance for the Kiwis at the recent World Cup.

Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould rates Whare as one of the top centres in the NRL.

“Dean Whare was one of the real success stories at Panthers in season 2013," Gould said. "He came to the club for an opportunity to play regular first grade and has now established himself as a representative centre of the highest order.

“I have no doubt Dean’s best football is still in front of him and we feel very lucky to have him at Panthers for the next four seasons. Dean thoroughly deserves this new deal.”

Coach Ivan Cleary said Whare had improved beyond all expectations.

"In 12 months Dean has not only cemented an NRL spot, but he’s also excelled at an international level for the Kiwis. He will continue to improve at the Panthers. Dean will become a mainstay in our backline over the next four years, whilst we continue to develop exciting youngsters such as Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, George Jennings and James Roberts.”

Dean says he appreciates the club's faith in him.

“I want to thank Gus and the Panthers club for giving me the opportunity to extend my contract. I really love it here, the boys are great to work with, the members and fans are amazing and Penrith feels like home now.”

“I have so much respect for Ivan and I’ve learnt so much under his guidance, and I’m looking forward to furthering my career with the Panthers family.”

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