St George Illawarra have re-signed fullback Zac Lomax on a historic six-year deal, despite the youngster playing just one game in the crucial NRL position.
The Dragons on Thursday confirmed a contract extension for Lomax, who was set to enter the final year of his deal, until the end of the 2025 season.
Only halfback Ben Hunt, who has completed the second of a five-year deal with an option for a sixth, has been given a longer contract by the merger club.
The highly-touted Lomax recently admitted to meeting with a number of rival clubs, having been linked with Newcastle, Canberra and the Wests Tigers.
But the 20-year-old instead committed to staying in Wollongong, where he had been developed since moving from Temora as a 13-year-old.
"Being able to go back to Temora at Christmas knowing my future is settled and I'm definitely going to be a Dragon for a while yet is very exciting," Lomax said.
The announcement comes just a fortnight after coach Paul McGregor declared Lomax would be given first crack in his preferred position of fullback.
Lomax has played just one game at No.1, carrying the ball for 146 metres from 13 runs and committing three errors in a 22-9 loss to Cronulla in May.
He has made just 17 appearances in total since his debut last year.
"With 2020, I've attacked every session possible and soaked up as much information as I can when it comes to playing fullback," Lomax said.
"I realise I still have a lot to learn but it's a challenge I'm looking forward to."
Dragons recruitment officer Ian Millward described the re-signing as a "no-brainer" before hinting at a leadership role for Lomax down the line.
"Zac is already the benchmark at training. With his attitude and attention-to-detail we see him as a future leader of our club," Millward said.
"The cherry on top is he's an outstanding goal kicker so we are pleased to shore that up too."
Zac's older brother Hayden, who struggled with injury this year, earned a one-year extension and has been listed as a development player.
The re-signings cap off an busy week that included the extension of Tristan Sailor, return of veteran Trent Merrin, and departure of Luciano Leilua.
The focus for the club will likely turn to off-contract star Tyson Frizell, while Euan Aitken, James Graham and Tim Lafai are also without deals in 2021.
Stood-down lock Jack de Belin, also off-contract, faces trial for rape in March.
Australian Associated Press