Michael Mendes says he never thought about going anywhere else after signing a new deal to remain with Cringila.
The Lions on Monday night announced that the young wingman would remain with the club for the 2024 Illawarra Premier League, which will mark his third campaign with the club.
Mendes arrived at Cringila ahead of the 2022 IPL in a bid for greater opportunities in a side that had battled to get off the foot of the table. However, the Lions have enjoyed a rapid rise in the past 18 months, culminating in them finishing second in this year's championship race - behind Albion Park - before falling 1-0 to Coniston in last month's grand final.
The results have left coach Jorge De Matos and his players hungrier than ever for success next year.
"When I joined Crini, we always had a three-year plan in place for the future. So I'm committing to it and it's good to see that we're progressing," Mendes told the Mercury.
"At one point, we were tied on points (with the White Eagles), and we just fell short which cost us this premiership. But this year, we've made a few signings and a bunch of the young boys have committed to do better and hopefully get the premiership next year."
The Mendes deal comes on the back of the Lions announcing a host of re-signings, led by skipper Peter Simonoski, goalkeeper Nikola Ristevski, midfielders Harrison Taranto and Ben Zucco, and centre back Jonah Kalmanidis.
Kalmanidis, Taranto and Simonoski all featured in the Mercury's 2023 IPL team of the year, while Ristevski was named as a substitute.
Mendes said it gave him great confidence to see so many of his teammates also recommit to the Lions.
"It's good that all of the boys here believe in the same plan that Jorge and I have," he said. "We have a good bunch of boys here and if we stick to it, I think that we'll get there eventually."
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