The Penrith Panthers have confirmed that superstar halfback Nathan Cleary has signed a five-year contract extension.
The new deal means the 20-year-old playmaker will remain with the club until at least the end of the 2024 season.
“I’m excited to re-sign with the Panthers and commit the next six years of my career to the club,” Cleary said.
“There was always going to be speculation but in the end it was an easy decision for me to make.
“This club and this community mean a lot to me. Panthers gave me the opportunity to debut as an 18-year-old and I will always hold that close to my heart.
“I’ve grown up with this team and I couldn’t ask for a better group of players and coaches to work with moving forward.
“I want to become a leader here at the Panthers and I’m determined to help deliver a premiership to Penrith.”
Cleary is a product of the Panthers development system, having been part of the club since joining the club’s Halfback Academy as a 14-year-old in 2011.
He played for the club’s Harold Matts team, captained the SG Ball outfit and won a premiership with the NYC side.
In 2016, aged 18, Cleary made a single appearance for the Panthers ISP team before being handed his NRL debut in Round 13.
He immediately established himself as the club’s first-choice halfback and finished his debut season as the club’s leading pointscorer.
“Today is a very special day in our club’s history,” Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.
“Everyone at Panthers is delighted to know Nathan Cleary has committed to this club until at least the end of the 2024 season.
“This is a significant contract for Nathan but it’s also a major investment by Panthers in its own future as an NRL club, and it’s an important signing for the future of rugby league in Western Sydney.
“Nathan is an outstanding young man and I have no doubt he will be a future captain of this club.
“His best football is still well in front of him and we believe he will be the face of rugby league in this region for many years to come.
“To sign a deal of this significance with a player we have seen develop through our own pathways system, from a young age, is a special moment indeed.”
In 2017 Cleary was selected in the NSW City Origin side and achieved the title of highest pointscorer in the NRL with a total of 228 points. He was the youngest player to achieve the feat since 1913 and the youngest player ever to score 200 points in a season.
He made his State of Origin debut for NSW earlier this year and played alongside Panthers teammate James Maloney as the Blues won their first series since 2014.
Cleary, who turns 21 in November, has played 58 NRL games, scored 18 tries and kicked 185 goals.