TOWNSVILLE, Australia (AP) — Jason Taumalolo has signed a 10-year contract, one of the longest in the history of the National Rugby League, to stay with the North Queensland Cowboys until the end of 2027.
Taumalolo, voted as the NRL's player of the year in 2016, made his NRL debut for the Cowboys in 2010 and is set to remain at the club for the remainder of his career.
"I'm very proud to be able to say that I'm staying a Cowboy for life," Taumalolo said. The 23-year-old backrower considered a shot at the NFL and traveled to the U.S. to trial in front of scouts, but has decided to stick with rugby league and the club he joined as a junior at the age of 14.
"Obviously to throw myself into another game, the negatives outweighed the positives," Taumalolo said Wednesday. "It was all about securing my future and obviously the opportunities that I have playing for this club, to be playing for this club for the rest of my career, is a big one for me."
Taumalolo won an NRL premiership with the Cowboys in 2015 and was part of the squad which reached the final last season. Financial details of the contract were not released, although Australian media reported it could be worth up to 10 million Australian dollars ($7.7 million).
"It definitely gives us stability. He's a key player in the game and a key player at our club," Cowboys coach Paul Green said. "He's certainly committed to the club. Securing it for that far means all parties get a win."
The signing is a boost for the Townsville-based club after forward leader Matt Scott was ruled out for the 2017 because of injury.