The Newcastle Knights have extended the contract of young forward Sam Stone until the end of season 2020.
Originally signed until 2018, the 20-year-old has signed a two-year contract extension.
“I love the Knights and I am very happy to sign this extension,” Stone said.
“We are building for a big future and I am happy to be a part of it.
“I have been here since I was ten years old, my dad was part of it and I have followed the team since I was very young.
“I love the town and lifestyle, the fans are great, and I would love to stay here for as long as I can.”
The Valentine Devils and Lakes United junior made his NRL debut in round one in 2017 and went on to play 16 NRL matches.
“It was a great season for Sam and we are pleased to be able to reward him with a contract extension,” General Manager Football Darren Mooney said.
“Sam is an impressive young footballer on and off the field and we look forward to his continued development here at the Knights.”
He was also selected in the Junior Kangaroos side that defeated the Junior Kiwis 46-22 in May.
“I had some time over the break to reflect on what I achieved,” Stone said.
“I am very proud of what I have done and thankful to the coaches for the opportunity, but now it is time to knuckle down and work hard for the year ahead.”
With pre-season now underway and the focus firmly on 2018, the local junior has set himself a number of goals.
“First of all, putting on some weight; that is a big thing for me,” Stone said.
“I need to put on a couple of kilos and try and maintain my fitness while I do that; it will be a lot of hard work in the gym.
“Wrestle and tackle technique is another area for me, so that is my focus to improve on those areas.”
Meanwhile, the Knights have re-signed forward Tyrone Amey and lock Zac Hosking for season 2018, and welcome hooker and half Christian Hazard on a one-year contract.
“Christian joins us after playing a consistent season with the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup and earned selection in the Queensland Residents team,” Mooney added.
“Tyrone and Zac are rewarded too for great seasons and we know both of them will work hard to make the most of their opportunity.”
Amey, Hosking and Hazard will all train with the NRL squad during the pre-season.