North Queensland have fought off interest from a host of NRL rivals to secure the long-term future of star backrower Jeremiah Nanai.
The Cowboys confirmed on Wednesday the local product had put pen to paper on a four-year contract extension.
Nanai will now remain in North Queensland until at least the end of 2027.
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“Signing Jeremiah to a long-term extension is fantastic news for our club,” Cowboys football manager Michael Luck said.
“Aside from securing one of the best young talents in the NRL, we now have the key pieces of our team across the park under contract for multiple seasons.”
The 19-year-old is already one of the best in his position in the competition, streaking away to win the 2022 NRL Rookie of the Year in a canter.
Making a name for himself as a dangerous ball runner and finisher, Nanai crossed for an astonishing 17 tries while playing as an edge forward last year.
His sudden rise up the ranks, which included debuts for Queensland and Australia, saw him catch the eye of recruiters across the league.
He signed a one-year extension in April of last year, keeping the rival approaches at bay for the remainder of the season.
Nanai’s form coincided with a surge up the ladder from the Cowboys, seeing them finish third on the ladder in 2022.
Luck said Nanai’s long-term commitment is a sign the club is continuing to make progress.
“Jeremiah is going to be integral to the success of this club moving forward,” Luck added.
“His progression under Todd and the coaching staff last season was remarkable. He can do things in games very few other players in our game have the ability to do.
“He is a point of difference for us with the ball and defensively he reads play exceptionally for someone of his age and experience level.
“Jeremiah has shown faith in our club by signing a long-term extension and we are excited to watch his continuing development over the coming years.”
Nanai and the Cowboys get their 2023 campaign underway at home to the Raiders on Saturday, March 4.