Hoffman extends NRL contract with Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hoffman extends NRL contract with Storm

09/02/2009 02:47:58 PM Comments (0)

Australian and NSW back-rower Ryan Hoffman has signed a four-year contract extension with Melbourne and predicts he'll see another NRL premiership title in that time.

The 25-year-old will play at the Storm until 2012, which will make him a 10-year veteran of the club after debuting in 2003.

Hoffman joins a string of crucial re-signings by the Storm that will keep the bulk of their 2007 premiership side together for several more seasons.

Skipper Cameron Smith recently signed a new deal that will take him through to 2012, while internationals Greg Inglis (2012), Cooper Cronk (2013), Dallas Johnson (2011), Jeff Lima (2011), Adam Blair (2011) and Sika Manu (2011) have all penned long-term deals along with NSW Origin winger Anthony Quinn (2011) and prop Brett White (2010).

Melbourne may have lost international stars Jeremy Smith (Dragons), Israel Folau (Brisbane) and Michael Crocker (Hull) but they've secured NSW Origin coach Craig Bellamy until the end of 2013 after he turned down a bold approach from Brisbane last year.

Fullback Billy Slater is the next target for Melbourne's retention drive. He is contracted until 2010 but has a get-out clause similar to departed Dragons star Mark Gasnier who is now playing French rugby union.

"Melbourne's the place I wanted to stay, it's a great club with great players and it's comforting knowing we've got so many quality players signed up for an extended period of time," Hoffman said on Monday.

"It's a club I'm really proud of and to be able to say I've played 10 years at the one club is something I'll be able to hang my hat on.

"There was interest from elsewhere but the Storm was where I wanted to be so it was a painless negotiation period."

Hoffman says the club isn't carrying any battle scars from their 40-0 grand final thrashing by Manly and confidence is running high as they head into their first trial match of the season, against the New Zealand Warriors in Hamilton on Thursday night.

He missed last year's title decider after undergoing surgery on his ankle, which he has only been able to run on for the past month.

"It definitely hasn't affected our confidence, we're still as confident in our ability and what we can do as a team as ever," Hoffman said.

"We've got so many young blokes and new guys at the club at the moment.

"There's a great fresh feel and they're looking to capitalise on what we've achieved in the last three years and obviously doing even better.

"We're really looking forward to this year. There's no reason why we can be as successful as we have been in the past three years."

Hoffman is one of five Melbourne internationals named to play on Thursday.

Fellow Kangaroos Dallas Johnson and Cooper Cronk and New Zealand internationals Sika Manu and Wairangi Koopu have also been named in the 22-man squad.

Hoffman, who has played 129 NRL games for the club, said he was almost back to 100 per cent after the surgery and just needed some match fitness.

The Storm will play a further two trial matches before their season opener on March 13 against the Dragons at Telstra Dome in Melbourne.

Melbourne squad to play NZ Warriors: Brett Anderson, Dane Nielsen, Willie Isa, Joseph Tomane, Andre Itula, James Maloney, Cooper Cronk, Scott Anderson, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Louis Fanene, Sika Manu, Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson, Hep Cahill, Sam Joe, Jade Williams, Wairangi Koopu, Kevin Proctor, Clifford Manua, Matt Cross, Zeb Tahwa, Dane Chisholm.

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