Canberra Raiders forward Clay Priest has continued his rapid rise into the NRL, by securing a new two year contract with the Raiders.
Priest, 27, started the season playing for the Raiders feeder club Mounties in the Intrust Super Premiership and was given the opportunity to train with the Raiders for a month earlier in the season.
The month long stint was enough to impress Raiders Coaching staff, who gave him an opportunity to make his NRL debut in round eight. He’s since gone on to play 10 matches and become one of the rising stars of the Raiders team.
Priest said re-signing with the club was something he was excited about and he was continuing to learn each time he took the field both at training and in matches at NRL level.
"I was extremely keen to stay and I can’t thank the club enough for the opportunity they have given me, its one I'll never forget and to be able to pay them back by re-signing with the club was an easy decision," Priest said.
"My confidence each week is growing and I'm continuing to learn how everyone plays and where I fit in. The playing group and coaches have been a big help for me and I am getting better each week."
The pathway for Priest from the Mounties to the Raiders was another factor in his decision to re-sign and said he expected more players to follow in his footsteps and make the move down the Federal Highway.
"There's definitely a genuine pathway there for players and the relationship between the two clubs is very strong," he said.
"I think we'll see more players come through Mounties and go on to play with the Raiders."
Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner said Priest had proven himself since making the transition from Mounties into the Raiders NRL squad and the partnership between the two organisations continues to go from strength to strength.
"Our relationship with the Mounties has been nothing but positive since we started with them in 2012 and the transition Clay has made from their program into the Raiders system speaks volumes for his work ethic and the Mounties football program," Furner said.
"Clay has been a surprising yet wonderful addition to our squad this season and his form has warranted the decision for us to re-sign him for two more years.
"I think Mounties Head Coach Steve Antonelli and the entire Mounties organisation can be proud of Clay re-signing and it shows the pathway is there for their players.
"The Mounties Intrust Super Premiership team has secured the minor premiership, while their two lower grade teams are also poised to finish on top of the ladder which is a huge achievement."