SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Dean Hawkins of Souths kicks the ball during the NRL trial match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Penrith Panthers at Redfern Oval on February 23, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The South Sydney Rabbitohs retention drive continues, with the club announcing they've extended the contract of two current talents as they look for depth in the future, confirming that Michael Chee Kam and Dean Hawkins have had their contracts extended until the end of 2023.

It’s been a tough start to life in Redfern for Chee Kam, who has made just two NRL appearances for the club since his arrival from Wests Tigers. But even without playing form, the experience and character he has brought to the playing group has been invaluable and a key factor in earning his contract extension.

“Unfortunately ‘Cheeks’ hasn’t been able to play the amount of football he would have liked to in 2022,” Rabbitohs Head of Football Mark Ellison told club media.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12: Michael Chee Kam of the Tigers looks for support during the round 22 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on August 12, 2018 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

“But we know when he gets on the park, he’s an NRL-quality player every day of the week. He’s found a home here.

The 30-year-old has played 96 games in the NRL, having made his debut at Manly before spending six years at Wests Tigers.

Hawkins, meanwhile, has earned a Top 30 contract with the team for 2023, having trained with the top squad for most of the year and even guiding the NRL team to their most recent win over Parramatta.

He made his debut last year and has made the most of limited opportunities so far and has been dominant for the club in the NSW Cup after winning the competition’s ‘Player of the Year’ award in 2021.

“Dean has been a great servant to the club over a number of years, progressing from the junior Bunnies right up to first grade,” Ellison added.

“He’s a South Sydney junior who loves the club and we’re looking forward to working with him again next season.”