Canberra Raiders hooker Kurt Baptiste will remain with the club until the end of 2018, after agreeing to re-sign for a further two years.
Baptiste put together his best season in 2016, playing in 24 matches and providing the Raiders with invaluable spark and energy off the bench.
The two year deal will allow Baptiste to concentrate solely on the upcoming pre-season and said he’s excited to have the opportunity to continue his NRL career with the Raiders.
“It’s great to get it organised and I’m really looking forward next two years and grateful for the opportunity the Raiders have given me,” Baptiste said. “This will take me to five years in total with the club and I’ve really found a home her in Canberra.”
With Josh Hodgson establishing himself as the clubs premier hooker, Baptiste said he’s keen to keep continuing the role he played in 2016 and continue to make valuable contributions for the team.
“Josh is obviously the number one hooker, but I’m looking forward to staying in the side and hopefully being there for round one,” he said. “There’s plenty of depth in the team and there will be guys fighting for positions right across the park.”
Baptiste said he’s looking forward to returning to training on Monday and said having a similar roster to 2016 would give the Raiders a great starting point as they start to work on their game for 2017, with his own pre-season set to benefit with Josh Hodgson on an extended break following four nations.
“I think it really helps having the same group here particularly in the halves. Last pre-season we spent a lot of time working on new combinations and this year we can work on improving what we achieved this season,” he said. “It will be good with Clydy (Adam Clysdale) and I sharing the duties until Josh comes back, it can only help us improve our games.”
Raiders NRL Recruitment & High Performance Director, Peter Mulholland, was thrilled that Baptiste agreed to extend his stay with the club.
"Kurt was an integral part of our squad in 2016, and he will play a big role in our plans moving forward in the next two years," Mulholland said. "Each year he has managed to improve his game in all facets, and that desire to continually improve rubs off on the rest of the squad.
"Our roster is almost completely locked up now until 2018, which we believe will give us the best possible shot at achieving success on the field."