St George Illawarra have received a welcome boost on the eve of the season, re-signing representative centre Euan Aitken for three seasons.
Aitken, a graduate of the club’s junior representative and Holden Cup teams, will remain at the Dragons until the end of the 2020 season.
The 21-year-old has made 45 appearances in the NRL since his debut in round three, 2015, and went on to represent Country Origin and Scotland at the Four Nations tournament last season.
Aitken said it was an easy decision to stay at the club.
“The St George Illawarra Dragons have been a good club to me. I've been here through all my junior years and come through the ranks to now first grade,” he said.
“I really enjoy it here and I really like the direction the club is heading and I want to be a part of it.”
Dragons director of rugby league pathways Ian Millward said Aitken’s retention was important for the club.
“It's always exciting when one of your own re-signs, especially a player and person like Euan,” he said.
“He’s only a young man who in two years has made his representative debut. He’s a player that everyone loves playing with and he’ll only improve.
“He’s also one of the fittest players in our club and a player who we see will lead the way in future years. We’re very excited for Euan.”
Meanwhile, St George Illawarra downed the Wests Tigers 20-10 in their trial at Wollongong on Saturday night.
Tim Lafai and young star Jai Field scored first half tries for the Dragons before tries to Tariq Sims and Kalifa Faifai Loa rounded out the match.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor rested his Four Nations stars for the trial with Aitken, Gareth Widdop, Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell expected to play in the Charity Shield on Sunday.