Hard-working prop Toby Rudolf has delivered an early Christmas present to Sharks fans by re-signing until the end of 2026.
Loved for his larger-than-life personality, Rudolf has been a mainstay of the Cronulla forward pack since his NRL debut in 2020. The 27-year-old has established himself among the game's top front-rowers, having played 81 matches so far.
Also a valuable contributor off the field, Rudolf's dedication to various community initiatives earned him a nomination for the prestigious Ken Stephen Medal in 2023.
Rudolf was grateful to secure a new two-year deal amid preparations for a huge 2024 campaign, saying he always wanted to remain in the Sutherland Shire.
"I got here in 2019, this is now my fifth year going into my sixth and I've signed for two more. If you would've asked me at the start of my tenure if I'd be here for almost 10 years I would've said you were dreaming," Rudolf said.
"It's becoming a special place in my heart. I've been here for my whole NRL career and I'm going to be here for a little bit more of it. If I can finish here that'd be the icing on top. It's a special place and I'm just happy to be a part of it."
Rudolf paid tribute to the people that have shaped his career.
"My mum, number one, first and foremost. Without her I'm not playing footy, I'm not having any desire. I came to realise not too long ago that she really helped me out and kept me out of the wrong crowd when I was younger," he said.
"That is definitely a massive part of why I'm successful in this field that I've chosen.
"There are lots of coaches along the way. I'd like to thank Fitzy (Craig Fitzgibbon) for helping me since he's been here, he's been a great help. The whole coaching staff - Josh Hannay, Steve Price, Daniel Holdsworth - have all been great.
"I just love being here every day."
Somewhat of a late bloomer, Rudolf cut his teeth in the under-20s for the Rabbitohs before a stint in the Queensland Cup with the Redcliffe Dolphins.
His form in 2018 landed him a Sharks NRL contract, but after putting pen to paper he cruelly suffered an ACL injury.
While he spent much of his first season at Cronulla rehabbing his knee, he returned late to help feeder team Newtown win the NSW Cup and State Championship.
Rudolf then made his long-awaited NRL debut in round one of 2020 and hasn't looked back, becoming one of the team's most reliable and popular players.
The enforcer played 15 games in an injury-disrupted season this year, averaging an impressive 108 metres and 30 tackles per appearance.
He said Sharks supporters should be excited for the future: "Hopefully, we're bringing you three more premierships in the years that I'm here."