The Reds have locked in another Wallabies extended squad member, continuing to sign their home-grown talent to multi-year deals as they build toward becoming a Super Rugby force.
Queensland will announce on Thursday the extension of former Nudgee College student Alex Mafi's contract until 2022 after the hooker's stellar season earned him a place in the Wallabies training squad.
One of only four players to turn out in every match for the Reds in 2019, Mafi leap-frogged Wallaby Brandon Paenga-Amosa to earn the starting hooker's jersey, wearing the no.2 in 11 of the 16 games last season.
“I’m very happy to secure my future here at the Reds for the next three seasons," Mafi said.
“Queensland is my home and I am excited to continue playing in front of my family and friends.
Mafi's three-year extension follows on from recent announcements of the re-signing of Taniela Tupou (until 2023), Tate McDermott (2023), Fraser McReight (2023), Angus Blyth (2023), Liam Wright (2021) and Angus Scott-Young (2021).
“We have a really good bunch of lads in the squad. We’ve all come through the Queensland pathway together," Mafi said.
"We’ve played against and alongside each other now for a good half decade but now is the time for us to start filling up the trophy cabinet."
Reds coach Brad Thorn was thrilled to have the 22-year-old agree to three more seasons in Queensland.
“Alex really stepped-up for us this season. He performed well and continues to grow with the more experience he gets," Thorn said.
“It’s important we continue to develop and look after these players who have come through the system for future success in Queensland.”
Mafi, who has 25 Super Rugby caps, was named in the extended Wallabies training squad ahead of the World Cup and took part in several camps ahead of The Rugby Championship.
While he will not be involved in the World Cup this year, his continued competition at the Reds with Peanga-Amosa, who is off-contract but expected to re-sign with the club, will push both to greater heights in the lead-up to the next World Cup.
Along with the addition of another Nudgee product, James O'Connor, and Brumbies winger Henry Speight, the Reds' strategy of backing homegrown talent is starting to pay off, with the club building depth in key areas, particularly in the pack.
Further signings are expected to be announced in the coming week, while Rugby Australia is understood to be working on the retention of some of the country's top young talent, including Reds squad members involved in the World Rugby U20 final earlier this year.
Reds players locked in for 2020 and beyond:
Taniela Tupou (2023)
Angus Blyth (2023)
Fraser McReight (2023)
Tate McDermott (2023)
Alex Mafi (2022)
Liam Wright (2021)
Angus Scott-Young (2021)
Jordan Petaia (2022)
James O’Connor (2021)
Izack Rodda (2020)
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (2020)
Henry Speight (2021)
Ruan Smith (2020)
JP Smith (2020)
Harry Hockings (2020)
Harry Wilson (2020)
Moses Sorovi (2020)
Jock Campbell (2020)
Filipo Daugunu (2020)
Jack Hardy (2020)