HE WAS the NSW wrecking ball, only selected after playing understudy in the lead-up to the Blues’ State of Origin campaign.
But Tyson Frizell is now firmly the key forward in Paul McGregor’s plans after signing a deal to keep him in Wollongong until the end of 2020.
The Corrimal junior’s new contract was announced on the NRL website, before hours later being confirmed by St George Illawarra.
It’s a major long-term boost for the Dragons, after missing out on the NRL finals series this year.
“It was an easy decision for me to make being a local junior,” Frizell said.
“Playing for the club these past four seasons so when the opportunity arose I was more than happy to extend my contract,” Frizell said.
“I believe that the Club is moving forward and I want to be a part of that so the option to prolong my career here was an easy choice to make.
“I grew up supporting the team so extending my stay has capped-off a highlight year which has provided me the opportunity to play State of Origin and now represent Australia as part of the Prime Minister’s thirteen.”
Frizell was a revelation for NSW this year, in another losing campaign, scoring two tries in a lion-hearted effort in two games in the sky blue jersey.
It comes as St George Illawarra pursue an interest in former Manly and Parramatta playmaker Kieran Foran, having missed a number of key targets during the season.
St George Illawarra’s pathway director Ian Millward declared Frizell was a key part of the club’s plans to return to premiership contention.
The Dragons last week signed South Sydney hooker Cameron McInnes, as Mitch Rein was released and NSW hooker Robbie Farah moved from the Tigers to the Bunnies.
“Tyson is an important member of our squad who we want to build a team around,” Millward said.
“He is someone we have earmarked as a future leader here at the club,
“He was duly rewarded for his hard work by being selected for NSW in State of Origin and he did not let anyone down by the performances he displayed in that competitive arena.
“He has since been named for the upcoming touring Australia Prime Minister’s team and we are confident this will lead to even greater things as he establishes himself as one of the upcoming elite players of the game.”
With a Test position on offer, Frizell will be part of the Prime Minister’s team campaign, to be played on September 24 against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.