Re-signed Dragons hooker Cameron King feared the protracted tug of war over his signature had fallen in a heap last month after he was sidelined with a serious thumb injury.
King (pictured) yesterday extended his five-year affiliation with the Dragons, ending months of speculation he would follow Darius Boyd, Alex McKinnon, Adam Cuthbertson and Beau Scott to play under former coach Wayne Bennett at Newcastle.
But the 20-year-old conceded his playing future lost clarity last month after he broke his thumb in the Dragons’ 17-6 win over Manly - King’s sole first-grade game in more than 12 months.
‘‘You want to be out there proving to people why you should earn their contract and obviously if you’re out injured you don’t get that chance,’’ he said.
‘‘The longer it dragged on, you don’t really know what was going to happen.
‘‘I was a bit worried when I got injured - I didn’t know what would happen then.
‘‘I was in talks with Newcastle but the Dragons is where I wanted to stay. I’m happy.’’
King had seven screws and a plate inserted in his broken thumb and is expected to soon resume full training. However, his return to the top side isn’t so straightforward.
King, who was in line to be the Dragons’ first-choice hooker until a season-ending pectoral injury in 2010, must prove his form against rival rakes Mitch Rein and Nathan Fien.
His signing comes days after Dragons lock Dean Young announced he would retire at the end of the year, freeing up a large slice of next year’s salary cap.
‘‘We’ve got a great mix of senior guys here and some good young guys coming through - the future looks good,’’ King said.
‘‘I’m back into full running now and aiming to be back for round 10 or 11 - it seems pretty good compared to last year.
‘‘Hopefully I can get these out of the way early and not have too many of these setbacks in the future.’’
King’s signing follows success by the Dragons in securing fullback Brett Morris and prop Trent Merrin for a further three years each. Despite the lure of playing under Bennett, King said his intention was to stay in the red and white.
‘‘It’s good. I’m really happy. I didn’t really want to leave and I’m happy to be here for another two years,’’ he said. ‘‘It was the best thing for me and my family at the moment. I’ve got a lot of family in Sydney and to move anywhere else would have been hard.’’
The Dragons bolstered their playing ranks yesterday by announcing Wollongong-bred rugby convert Tyson Frizell had agreed to a two-year deal.
The second-rower impressed during last year’s Four Nations series for Wales but will return home after limited opportunities with Cronulla.