Widnes have handed a new two-year deal to young prop Alex Gerrard.
Gerrard, 21, is a product of the club’s academy and has played in all three of their Super League games this season.
Head Coach Denis Betts said: “Alex made a decision to step out of University and delay his studies for a year, to see if he could earn himself a full time contract at the club.
“As a result of doing this, the commitment and level of improvement he has shown have both been fantastic and week in week out, his performances are dictating that he is deserving of a place in the starting 17.
“It seems only fair that we utilise all of the energy and enthusiasm he has got and put it into the team and keep him here for as long as possible. So, rewarding him with a new and improved contract was an easy decision to reach and I have no doubt that we will be extending his contract again, further down the line.”
Gerrard made eight appearances in 2012, is now committed to the Stobart Stadium until the end of 2015.
He crossed for his first senior try for the club in Sunday’s defeat at Hull KR.
The youngster added: “Signing a long term contract at the club means that I can now fully focus on playing and not have to worry about any other distractions. I’m taking things one game at a time and working hard on my consistency. The secret now is to keep up my level of performance to ensure I maintain my place in the side.”