St George Illawarra flyer Matt Dufty will remain at the club for a further two years after the Dragons extended his contract until the end of the 2021 NRL season.
The extension comes as questions loom over Dufty’s place within the team after the Dragons signed former Parramatta playmaker Corey Norman in December.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Dufty’s playing position in 2019, the 23-year-old said he was excited to extend his stay at his junior club.
“I'm very happy about re-signing for another two years,” Dufty said. “It wasn't a difficult decision. The Dragons is somewhere where I think I could play my best footy and where I wanted to stay.
“I feel like a weight has been lifted. I've had it over my head for a while now and I'm glad the positive discussions I've had with the club has ended this way.
“I'm really excited for this year to come. I'm not sure where I'll play but it's a good headache for Mary [coach Paul McGregor] to have.
“We have all been playing different positions, trying to get our different combinations sorted and with the strike force we have, it's exciting to see how we all play.”
The signing comes on the eve of St George Illawarra’s first trial, to be played against Newcastle in Kogarah on Saturday night.
Dragons recruitment manager Ian Millward praised Dufty for his commitment to the club and said he’s looking forward to Dufty improving on a promising 2018 in the upcoming season.
“He's a local junior who has gone through our pathway system, and we know he's a person we want here long-term at this club,” Millward said. “He's a passionate Dragons player who brings a real skill set to the team.
“We have been in deep discussions and negotiating with Matt and his agent since last year. He was aware of our discussions with Corey Norman at all times and he knew where his future lied at our club at all times.
“As for this year, we're really excited by 2019 with the depth and quality of our roster. In regards to what positions everyone plays, that's up to the coach. [The coach] is excited by not only the spine he has in 2019, but also 2020 and 2021.”