The Sharks centre Ricky Leutele, in career best form in 2015, has signed a new long-term deal.
The latest three-year contract for Leutele, who joined the Sharks back in 2009 as a 19-year-old, sees him commit his future to the club through until the end of the 2018 season.
After battling injury early in his NRL career Leutele has developed into an extremely dependable player in the Sharks backline, forming an exciting combination in 2015 with winger Sosaia Feki.
The multi-year deal is a reward for his continued development, with coach Shane Flanagan believing the best is yet to come for talented centre.
“He had a tough run with injury but the last 18 months he’s been able to put together consistent blocks of regular NRL footy and he has shown the benefit of that,” Flanagan said. “This long-term deal is a reward for his improvement and consistency and he’s only 25. He’s still got his best footy in front of him.”
After joining the club from Logan Brothers in Brisbane Leutele began his career at the Sharks in the Under-20’s. Quickly showing his promise he earned promotion into the NSW Cup team while still a teenager later that year.
He made his NRL debut in 2010, playing just one game that year, the round 24 clash with the Melbourne Storm, before being added to the Sharks full-time roster in 2011.
A wretched run of injury saw him in and out of the NRL team until establishing himself in the top grade in 2014. From there Leutele has been an almost automatic choice in Flanagan’s fifth-placed Sharks NRL side this season.
With Samoan heritage, Leutele has also become a regular member in the Toa Samoa national squad, representing in the 2014 Four Nations tournament.
In complementing the signing of Leutele, the Sharks have been busy locking up a handful of their talented youngsters, with NYC captain Anthony Moraitis and 2014 Australian Schoolboys hooker Jayden Brailey agreeing to new deals.
The extremely dependable Junior Roqica has also signed on for the 2016 season, while Moraitis joins the Sharks full-time NRL squad from next year on a one-year contract, Brailey, who has another year left in the NYC, has signed for two.
The Sharks are also hopeful in the coming weeks of announcing the signings of a number of their successful SG Ball and Matthews Cup squad members.