Inaugural Melbourne Storm front-rower Robbie Kearns is set to become the first player to be with the club for ten years after re-signing yesterday in a deal that will keep him involved with the Storm beyond his playing days.
The 31-year-old NSW prop has signed a two-year contract meaning he will play out his career with the Storm and then remain with the club for at least a further three years as an ambassador for the Storm.
Kearns says he is delighted to be staying with the club he captained from the start of the 2000 season until midway through last year.
?I really didn?t want to leave Melbourne, I?ve had some great years here at the Storm and I?m really enjoying my football here still,? Kearns said.
?I?ve got a lot of love for the guys here and the place itself so I?m very pleased to be staying.
?I did have a couple of other options but it has worked out for the best because staying with the club was my first preference.?
Kearns says he is pleased to finally have his playing future sorted out and is now looking forward to the Storm?s 150th NRL match against the Brisbane Broncos today at Olympic Park (2.30pm).
?It?s a bit of a relief to have it sorted out because there are so many factors that go into this type of thing,? Kearns added.
?In saying that though I?m happy and I?m pretty sure the Storm is happy so now we can get back to focusing on the footy.?
Melbourne executive director John Ribot believes Kearns is the perfect candidate to develop the club?s future in years to come.
?Robbie has obviously been with the club since its formative years and his commitment has been tireless,? Ribot said.
?Robbie will now become the first player to be with the Storm for ten years and we see him as a player that will really lay the foundation for the future of this club in years to come.
?We are looking forward to him remaining with the Storm once his playing days are finished and I?ve no doubt he will be as serviceable off the field in an ambassadorial role as he has been on the field for so long.?
Having played with Cronulla from 1992 to 1995 (77 first grade games) Kearns joined the Western Reds for the 1996/97 seasons before moving to Melbourne in 1998.
The 31-year-old was dogged by an ankle injury in 2002 playing just 13 games but has made a remarkable return to form this year gaining selection for the NSW State of Origin side and notching his 100th game for the Storm in round two earlier this year.
Kearns has played 227 career games, 113 of which have been with the Storm.
The Storm has now successfully re-signed Matt Geyer, Scott Hill, Steven Bell, Peter Robinson and Kearns.
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