Penrith have announced livewire five-eighth Jarome Luai has signed a three-year contract extension with the club.
The new deal means the 24-year-old playmaker has committed to Panthers until at least the end of the 2024 season.
“I feel blessed to know I’ll be at Panthers for the next four years,” Luai said.
“This is my home. This is where I grew up. This is my family. Every time I pull on that jersey, I’m playing for all those things and more.
“I think it’s going to be a great season and I’m just really excited to get out there and play some footy.”
A local junior with St Marys, Luai progressed through the Panthers development system to achieve his NRL debut in 2018.
The Samoan international had to bide his time behind James Maloney before stepping into the five-eighth role last season.
“I first watched Jarome playing alongside Nathan (Cleary) as a 15-year-old,” Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said.
“He had to wait a little bit longer to cement his spot in the NRL but the natural combination those two have will be vital for our club over the coming years.
“Jarome’s value to our team is more than just his individual skills. He has an ability to connect the players around him, which is crucial to our success.
“I look forward to working with him and watching his game continue to grow in the seasons ahead.”
Luai played a key role in the team’s record-breaking 2020 campaign, scoring seven tries and notching up 23 try assists.
His outstanding form was rewarded with selection in the extended NSW Origin squad and the Maori All Stars side.
“Panthers has taken a very deliberate approach to recruitment and retention over the summer months to ensure we put the club in the best possible position moving forward,” Panthers General Manager Rugby League Matt Cameron said.
“Securing Jarome’s services through to the end of 2024 is a key piece of that puzzle.
“At the start of every year, when we speak to the families involved in our junior development system, we make a promise to the parents that we will shape their kids into better players, and more importantly, better people.
“We believe Jarome is a reflection of that heartfelt commitment and we look forward to the next steps in his journey.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.