The Canberra Raiders have officially re-signed local junior Harley Smith-Shields on a one-year deal, tying him to the Green Machine through to the end of 2024.
Smith-Shields was set to be handed an opening round starting spot last season, however after tearing his ACL in the pre-season, his injury saw the likes of Semi Valemei and James Schiller both start in the backline.
While he would've slipped down the pecking order in 2022, specifically behind breakout centres Sebastian Kris and Matt Timoko, a new contract before his return to the playing field is a sign of the faith they have in Harley.
The outside back was just grateful to have been given the support.
“First of all, I want to thank the club for their support, especially over the last twelve months and in particular Ricky. He's been fantastic for me and reassuring me of my position in the squad,” Smith-Shields told the Canberra media team.
“It's been a tough year for me; however, I'm looking forward to putting all that behind me and focusing on playing some footy again this season.”
Recruitment officer Joel Carbone cited the importance of holding onto local juniors, and is excited to see Harley return to the NRL.
“Having a local junior like Harley re-sign with the club is super important and highlights our commitment as a club to developing players and keeping them at the club,” Carbone said.
“Harley has been working extremely hard to get himself back onto the field after his injury last season and we're looking forward to seeing him continue his development at the Raiders.”
Smith-Shields hasn't been named by the Canberra Raiders for their opening trial this weekend against Canterbury, instead assuring his rehabilitation as he looks to snare a wing spot this season.