Wests Tigers have secured promising young forward JJ Felise on an extended contract with the Club through until the end of the 2018 season.
Felise made his NRL debut earlier this season against the Melbourne Storm in Round 7 and has played a total of five first grade games in 2016.
The 20-year-old prop forward is still eligible for Holden Cup, where he has also played a number of games during the 2016 season.
Born in Logan, Queensland, Felise attended Keebra Park High School and joined Wests Tigers’ Under 20s at the beginning of the 2015 season.
The Logan Brothers junior represented the Junior Kangaroos in May this year, scoring a try in the 34-20 victory over the Junior Kiwis.
Felise expressed his excitement to secure a further two years with Wests Tigers.
“I’m really happy to have extended my deal with Wests Tigers,” Felise said. “I’m really happy with the offer they have put through and I’m really pleased to be able to stay at the Club.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity they have given me, the Club has been there for me since the junior grades with the Keebra Park and Wests Tigers relationship.
“The senior boys have been teaching me a lot of stuff this year and I’m really excited to re-sign with Wests Tigers.
“It’s a dream come true playing first grade, I couldn’t really put words to the experience.
“It’s something you dream of as a kid and I didn’t think the day would come but I’m really thankful to JT (Jason Taylor) and the rest of the coaching staff for the opportunity.
“I’m just hoping to play consistent footy, remain injury-free and take whatever opportunities I get in first grade with both hands.
“Front row is a position that you need to develop in as you get older and we’ve got some of the best here in Aaron Woods, Tim Grant, Ava Seumanufagai and Sauaso Sue.
“I’m looking forward to learning from those guys and I’m hoping I can model myself into a consistent first grade player in years to come,” he said.
Wests Tigers Head Coach Jason Taylor said Felise has been exceptional in making the transition into first grade this season.
“JJ has a really bright future ahead of him and I’m really pleased that he has committed to the Wests Tigers for another two seasons,” Taylor said. “He has taken every opportunity we have given him this year and he has a great attitude to training.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what JJ can do in years to come and we are very excited to have him at the Club,” he said.
Felise’s re-signing comes on the back of a number of exciting players committing to the Club in recent weeks — including vice-captain Chris Lawrence, Tim Simona, Josh Aloiai and Michael Chee Kam.
Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said the Club is committed to building a strong playing roster.
“JJ is an exciting young player who has already shown he has a bright future with a handful of NRL games this year,” Pascoe said. “We are pleased that JJ has agreed to terms and it is yet another quality player to commit their future to the Club in recent weeks.
“It’s a great sign that players are on board with what we are building at Wests Tigers,” he said.
Felise has been named on an extended interchange bench for this weekend’s NRL match against the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.