Penrith have confirmed the re-signing of young gun Stephen Crichton on a two-year extension, tying him to the club until the end of the 2023 season.
The rising star is one of three key signings for Ivan Cleary this season, with newly appointed captain Isaah Yeo already inking a new deal until the end of the 2024 season, while exciting five-eighth Jarome Luai remains unsigned past this season.
“It’s really exciting to know I’m going to be at Panthers for the next three years,” Crichton said, per the club’s website.
“This is my home. I’ve grown up in this club and built strong relationships with everyone here. I’ve never wanted to play anywhere else.
“To get the deal done before the season starts is massive and now I can focus on playing my best footy.”
Crichton was a key target for a number of NRL rivals, with Bulldogs coach and former Panthers assistant Trent Barrett keen on bringing the 20-year-old to Belmore.
The NSW squad representative had a stellar first full season in the league last year, scoring 17 tries in the Panthers’ push to the grand final.
“I’m very happy that ‘Critta’ will continue to grow and develop in the Panthers system alongside his good mates,” Cleary said.
“I look forward to working with him over the next three years and I know he’ll contribute strongly to our club, on and off the field, in that time.”
With Crichton’s signature landing on the dotted line, the club will soon turn their attentions to Luai, who has also been reported to have an extension all but confirmed.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month that Luai is on the cusp on signing a deal worth close to $2.2 million.
Speaking on SEN radio earlier this week, Panthers chairman Greg Alexander said he expects the club to officially announce new deals for both players soon.
“We are very close (to signing Luai and Crichton),” he said on 1170 SEN Mornings.
“Extremely close. I’m sure there will be announcements this week.”