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Hunt locked in for 2024-2025 seasons

Arriving in the Shire ahead of the 2020 season in search of an opportunity, Royce Hunt since has become a regular in the Sharks line up, with the Samoan international signing a two-year contract extension with the Cronulla club.

The new deal sees Hunt, who adds size and aggression to the Sharks forward pack, committed to the Sharks until at least the end of the 2025 season.

“I’m very excited, my preference was to stay here, I genuinely love this club and what we’re building, so I’m happy to be on board and to be a part of that success,” Hunt said.

Joining the Sharks three seasons ago after one NRL game for the Raiders in 2017, Hunt played 14 top grade games in 2020, before a serious knee injury towards the back end of that year set him back in 2021.

Returning to full fitness in 2022, Hunt cemented a spot in the Sharks forward pack, with his form throughout the year earning selection in a Samoan team which won its way through to the World Cup Final.

“(Craig Fitzgibbon) Fitzy put some trust in me and I’m very grateful for that. From that I got selected for Samoa and we did what we did,” Hunt said.

“I’m looking forward to working off the back of that and to having another big year.”

In securing the services of another crucial member of his NRL squad for two more years, Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon praised Hunt for his commitment and believes there is still plenty of upside in the burly front rower.

“We are proud of Royce’s effort and development over the last 12 months,” Fitzgibbon said. “He’s worked very hard on himself, has potential for even more and we also think he’s shown a real care and respect for his teammates and club.”

Originally from Western Australia, Hunt was spotted and recruited by the Bulldogs, playing through their junior representative ranks before shifting to Canberra to continue his rugby league career.

While his NRL opportunities were limited at the Raiders, the Sharks saw enough to offer Hunt a training contract ahead of that 2020 season, before he was then elevated into the top 30, going on to played 43 NRL games at Cronulla, seven of those through the first eight games in 2023.

With Māori as well as Samoan heritage, Hunt was selected in the Maori team for the annual All Stars clash earlier this year.

The re-signing of Hunt adds to a long list of his current teammates to have also committed their immediate playing futures to the Sharks.

“We’re a real close bunch of boys. We all believe and trust in what we’re doing, so we’re all keen to stick around,” Hunt added.

With the injury suffered by Braden Hamlin-Uele, Hunt has been promoted into the Sharks starting side for their Magic Round match against the Dolphins this weekend. The Sharks travel to Brisbane on Friday ahead of the game which is scheduled for a 5.30pm kick off at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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