Alex Walmsley has agreed a new three-and-a-half year contract with Super League champions St Helens.
The big prop forward has been an instant hit with the champions since he signed in 2013.
He made his debut at home against Hull FC of the same year and has gone on to make 62 appearances for the club.
“I was really happy when Keiron Cunningham approached me about renewing my contract,” Alex said. “I’ve had quite a good start to the season and it felt good that they wanted to reward me for my form. I was delighted to do so as since I have come here I have been made to feel very welcome by the players, staff and the board of directors.
“I was an easy decision to re-sign.
“I had offers from the NRL which I naturally had to think about. There is obviously a pull there as it is a prestigious league but credit to Keiron he made it clear he wanted to keep me and in the end that was the deciding factor.
“When the club made it very clear how much they wanted to keep me on board then it made the decision easier.”
He continued: “I have fallen in love with the town since I moved down here and the fans have been great with me. What we are building at St Helens is special. We have some great young prospects coming through and if you add into the mix the likes of Jon Wilkin and James Roby then you have a good squad that is going places.
“With Keiron, Sean Long and Jamahl Lolesi on board too I am happy to be part of that future.”
Before he moved to Langtree Park, the 25-year-old played for GB Students, Dewsbury Celtic and Batley in consecutive seasons.
“My last game for Dewsbury was in January 2012 and I have now won a Grand Final,” he continued. “It has been a strange three years but when you come to a place like this and see its history, no matter what the squad is or its injuries, when you have that winning culture from the top down you totally buy into it.
“I know I still have a lot of work to do though and international honours are in the back of my mind. But at the forefront is training and getting better. I am so far from the finished article. I want to improve my game.”
Saints Head Coach Keiron Cunningham added: “We’re delighted Alex has agreed a new contract with the club. It’s clear his progression from amateur to professional has been phenomenal and already this season he is proving to be one of the best forwards in the competition.
“What I like about Alex is his ability to learn and realise he isn’t the finished article. He is keen to improve and trains very hard. I have no doubt he has all the attributes to become one of the very best in the game.”