Form halfback and local Dapto junior Mathew Head re-signed with the Dragons today for two years until the end of 2006 then said he hopes to play his entire career with the club.
Head, 22, who played four NRL games in his debut season last year, will play his 13th for this season against the Tigers on Sunday at Oki Jubilee Stadium.
He is one of four local juniors to resign with the Dragons in the past fortnight, with prop Justin Poore, 19, also re-signing today for two years, while two weeks ago Dean Young, 20, re-signed for two years and Ashton Sims, 19, extended his 2005 contract for one year (to 2006).
?I never wanted to leave the Dragons so I am very happy negotiations are complete and I can just concentrate on footy,? Head said. ?I always wanted to stay. Being my junior club I hope to finish my career here. I want to play good football over the next two years so I can extend my contract.
?Since I made grade Nathan Brown has always been my coach so I?m happy knowing he is going to be around. I like his style of coaching and play.?
Head started the season as the second-string halfback behind Brett Firman but was called into the NRL side in round two after Firman?s form was down following a shoulder reconstruction. A week later Firman broke his leg in Premier League and Head seized the opportunity.
?My goal for the season was to be the number one halfback and jump Brett Firman for the position,? Head said. ?When the opportunity came I went for it. It doesn?t get any easier each week, but playing alongside Trent Barrett helps enormously.?
Head has scored three tries, 19 goals and one field goal (51 points) in 12 games to be the Dragons' second highest point scorer so far this season behind Mark Riddell (70).
Like Head, Poore was no certainty of an NRL start at the beginning of the season, but he made his NRL debut in round one and he has played all but one of the 14 games since this year.
?My goal was to make my debut and hopefully play a handful of games,? Poore said. ?To become a regular in the 17-man line-up has been exciting. Being a local junior and having had Brownie as a coach since grade, I?m rapt to re-sign for another two years.?
Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust said the young players coming through had been a priority however he anticipated finalising negotiations with Ben Hornby, Jason Ryles, Brent Kite and Mark Riddell next week.
?We are very pleased to see Mathew Head and the other young players like Justin Poore, Ashton Sims and Dean Young continue their development as first graders with the Dragons,? Doust said. ?I expect the others to be clarified next week.?