Amanaki Mafi has finally put pen to paper, signing with the Rebels for 2018.
It has long been rumoured that Mafi was set to extend his stay in Melbourne but confirmation from the club today is an enormous boost for the Rebels.
The 27-year-old was a standout in every game he played this season.
He put the Rebels on his back all season long with destructive ball carries, abrasive defence and an innate ability to find holes in the defensive line.He was voted the Players' Player at the club's awards night last month - a fitting end to a superb debut season.
To commit to another season with the Rebels is a huge show of faith in the club, as his signature was highly sought after around the world.
"It was an easy decision to re-sign with the Rebels, since I’ve arrived everyone has made me feel welcome and my family and I love it here in Melbourne, it’s a great city and my second home,” Mafi said.
“I’m looking forward to next year because there is more I want to achieve with the club and we’ve got some great young players so I think the Rebels will have a great season."Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said the club was "thrilled" to secure Mafi's services for 2018.
"We’re thrilled that fan favourite Amanaki has chosen to remain with the Rebels in Melbourne for another year after a standout first Super Rugby season generated plenty of interest,” Stephenson said.
“Amanaki was the most dominant forward in the Australian Conference and quickly established himself as a highly respected member of the Rebels squad with his consistent hard running and physical presence in the backrow a highlight in every game this season.”
The Japanese international, who led all forwards in carries (184), metres gained (1378), offloads (30) and ranked second in tackle busts (48), will return to Melbourne in January, at the conclusion of the Japanese Top 14 season.