St George Illawarra's Jacob Host has admitted his shock after re-signing with the club for a further three seasons.
Initially off-contract at the end of the 2017 Telstra Premiership season, Host anticipated he'd have to prove his worth to the Dragons' hierarchy throughout the year.
Host will now concentrate on impressing coach Paul McGregor throughout the remainder of the pre-season.
The former Junior Kangaroo will have to contend with the likes of Jake Marketo, Will Matthews, Tyrone McCarthy and Luciano Leilua for a spot in the Dragons' 17.
"It is a huge moment for me. It was a surprise at first when the club approached me because it was in the middle of pre-season. I wasn't really expecting it because I didn't think it would be negotiated until later into the season," Host told NRL.com.
"I suppose it was a good show of faith in me which meant it was a pretty easy decision for me to stay. It put my mind at ease too because all I have to do in 2017 is focus on footy. I don't have to worry about whether my form warrants a new contract.
"I can just look at making myself the best player I can be. The club is definitely going in the right direction with what's been implemented recently. Plus we have a great roster which will only benefit us in the future."
Host's new contract follows a dream first season in the NRL.
The former Junior Kangaroos representative played eight first grade games for the Dragons and was also an integral member of the NRL State Championship victors, the Illawarra Cutters.
As a result the Renown United junior made NSWRL's Intrust Super Premiership Team of the Year.
"It was the perfect year," Host said.
"Playing in the state grand finals with the Cutters and winning both of them and then to play first grade throughout the year was something I would've imagined at the beginning of last year.
"It is great experience I can now use moving forward."
A relaxing off-season helped Host put everything into perspective.
"The break was really important because after a really long and tough season for the Dragons, it was good to get away from football for a bit," he said.
"It helped me not get ahead of myself. I'm still only 20 after all and I still have my best footy ahead of me. There's a lot of improvement in my game that is still needed."