The Cronulla Sharks have reportedly locked down the services of a key member of their forward pack beyond this season.

Tom Hazelton has had a breakout season in Sharks colours this season and has been a key factor in their placing at the top end of the NRL ladder.

A late bloomer, his game has evolved over the past two seasons after earning a promotion to the Top 30 squad in 2023 and being a consistent performer in the NSW Cup.

With plenty of size - at 198 centimetres and 116 kilograms - Hazleton has been with Cronulla's program since the end of 2017 and has played his way through the club's pathways.

As reported by News Corp, the Cronulla Sharks have extended Hazelton's contract until the end of the 2025 season after taking up a club option.

The publication also reports that the club has discussed extending his contract for the long term, as he is free to negotiate with rival teams from November 1.

While the Sharks will receive Addin Fonua-Blake from the New Zealand Warriors next season, Dale Finucane's sudden retirement has eased some salary cap pressure.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29: Thomas Hazelton of the Sharks celebrates scoring a try with team mates during the round 18 NRL match between Cronulla Sharks and St George Illawarra Dragons at PointsBet Stadium on June 29, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

They will now likely turn their attention to securing front-rower Royce Hunt.

Hunt has been linked with the Canterbury Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohs but confirmed that he would love to remain at the Sharks for the remainder of his career.

“Obviously, I want to spend the rest of my career at the Sharks, but at the end of the day, it's a business and they have got to do what's right for them and I have got to do what's right for me and my family,” Hunt told NRL.com.

“I'd love to stay here, but obviously it is what it is.

“I've got the rest of this year and next year is still signed.

“But I guess you'd be a bit blind not to see that we've got another world class front row coming in and we've got a lot of young front rowers here and I never want to be that guy that holds one of the young boys out of a spot. So if I have to go, then so be it.”