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Knights secure NSW prop Saifiti on two-year extension

New coach Adam O'Brien has secured his first player retention at Newcastle with NSW prop Daniel Saifiti agreeing to a two-year contract extension on Monday.

The 23-year-old, who made his NRL debut as a teenager alongside twin brother Jacob in 2016, will remain in the Hunter until at least the end of the 2022 season.

Once considered the leader of an inexperienced pack, Saifiti reaped the benefits of David Klemmer's arrival this year to form a strong front-row combination with the Australian forward and later make his State of Origin debut in June.

"We've signed some quality players in recent times and that has certainly helped with my development," Saifiti said in a club statement.

"I owe a lot to this club. My brother Jacob and I came here as teenagers to play 20s and I've been living my dream ever since.

"We have something special here and a talented group of guys. I'm excited for what the future holds, not only for myself and my teammates but for our loyal fans. That's why I re-signed."

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Knights CEO Phil Gardner said a difficult start to Saifiti's career was now being rewarded with the club back to a competitive position. 

Saifiti is only second behind Sione Mata'utia (112) in the 2020 squad for most appearances in red and blue with 85 games under his belt. 

"Daniel is still only young but shows a maturity beyond his years," Gardner said.

"He's a wonderful young man and exceptional player. This season we saw him take a giant step forward in developing into the player we all know he can become.

"Those rewards are a result of his hard work and consistency."

The Fijian international was one of 13 players off contract next year with their futures to be decided by O'Brien over the next 12 months.

Among the names include livewire utility Connor Watson, Herman Ese'ese, Danny Levi, Mitch Barnett and veteran Aidan Guerra. 

Ese'ese was reportedly being shopped around by the Knights under Nathan Brown's regime but O'Brien was eager to keep the Samoan prop once he was appointed the coaching role. 

Levi's future remains under a cloud following Cronulla hooker Jayden Brailey's arrival. 

The club announced the retention of Hymel Hunt and Brodie Jones last week.  

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