Powerhouse centre Samu Kerevi has re-signed with the Queensland Reds until the end of 2018, the club announced on Friday.
Kerevi has been one of Queensland’s standout players in 2016, leading the side in run metres (628) and carries (120) for the season.
The 22-year-old has been touted as a major Wallabies chance this season, likely to bob up in the centres in the wake of Kurtley Beale’s season-ending injury.
As damaging as he is on the field, it’s Kerevi’s commitment to his teammates and family that has garnered him somewhat of a cult figure status in Queensland, no more so than in his emotional response to a recent injury blow.
Kerevi will be a crucial part of any potential success the Reds could hope for and he said the desire to build something at Ballymore was a key reason for staying put.
“I want to build something here at the Reds and I believe in this young group and the coaching staff we have. I believe we can grow into the team we want to be,” he said.
“I’m really enjoying my time at Ballymore. It’s been a tough season, but we’ve showed glimpses of what we’re capable of and we’re only going to get better.
“I grew up watching Queensland and wanting to play for them, so I feel blessed to have that opportunity and I’m excited to be here for another two years.”
Reds general manager, and interim co-CEO Daniel Herbert said he was eagerly anticipating the possibilities Kerevi could throw up in coming seasons.
“Samu has made a home for himself at Ballymore. He’s one of the young leaders within our squad and is highly respected,” he said.
“Through his hard work and dedication, he has established himself as one of the great ball-carrying centres in Super Rugby.
“He has a genuine desire to continue to learn and get better and we believe he has plenty of development left in him. We look forward to seeing what he can achieve here in Queensland.”
The announcement is a massive boon for a Queensland side that has won just three games this season.