Widnes Vikings have confirmed that Matt Whitley has signed a three-year contract at the club.
He should now stay with the Vikings until the end of the 2018 season.
“It has been an unreal experience playing for the first team,” said the player.
“To get my debut alone was a massive achievement for me but then to play three games on the run has exceeded my own expectations.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have signed a new three-year deal with Widnes Vikings. I’m really excited about the prospect of securing a regular first team place and working hard in a Vikings shirt.
“I have learnt so much playing my way up through the Academy.
“Now I’ve got my first full time contract I will continue to work hard, to keep improving my game, learning from training and match experience to be the most professional Widnes Vikings player I can be.”
Widnes coach Denis Betts is delighted that the 19-year-old back rower has committed his future to the club.
“The fact that we have given Matt Whitley a new contract at this time is real testament to Matt Whitley,” he said.
“He came into our squad as an unknown teenager. He was willing to back himself and go full time on an academy contract.
“He worked really hard on his studies to make sure he stayed ahead academically so that he could train full time with the first team.
“Spending time in the full time environment has benefitted Matt immensely. His strength and understanding of the game have developed significantly.
“It has been a tough role for Matt. It is great to be able to reward him now after he got pulled into the squad through injury and did a fantastic job over a really tough period over Easter.
“Matt hasn’t looked out of place in the side since his impressive debut. He looks like he deserves to be in the side regardless of his age which is testament to how hard he works.
“We have given him a three-year contract because we believe in Matt Whitley. He is one of the key youth signings alongside Jack Owens, Tom Gilmore, Alex Gerrard, Danny Craven – lads that have come through our system and have been really really good and have worked very hard and deserve the reward.
“Matt’s contract is testament to Matt and what he has been able to achieve in a short space of time.”