The Newcastle Knights head into next week’s 2021 NRL opener buoyed by the re-signing of one of the club’s brightest young talents.
The Hunter-based organisation confirmed the upgrade – and extension – of Bradman Best’s contract until the end of 2024 at last night’s official season launch at Newcastle’s NEX.
The Knights also revealed Daniel Saifiti, who’ll make his 100th appearance for the club in the first round, and hooker Jayden Brailey would co-captain the side against the Canterbury Bulldogs at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday 12 March.
The pair are both in the senior leadership group, named in January, which also includes Kalyn Ponga, Blake Green and Mitch Barnett.
Meanwhile, Best, signed as a 15-year-old in 2016, was earmarked as an explosive rookie following a number of eye-catching performances.
The teenager, now 19, burst onto the scene just weeks after his 18th birthday in 2019 and immediately became a staple of the Knights backline.
He brings genuine X-factor to an already-exciting Newcastle team, boasting lightning speed and a powerful frame which has seen the likes of Andrew Johns refer to him as “Bradman Beast”.
Best capped a dominant 2020 by being named in Brad Fittler’s Emerging Blues squad for the second consecutive year, and will continue to go from strength-to-strength as he matures with consistent first-grade football in 2021.
Knights head of recruitment Clint Zammit said the youngster’s retention was the perfect news to excite fans just a week out from the season.
“We’re extremely thrilled to extend Bradman’s contract until the end of 2024,” he stated.
“He’s a wonderful person and local product who has worked his way through our system and will be a long-term player at our club.”
Best said he was excited now that his future was secured.
“I’m proud to be Knight until 2024,” he added.
“I love this club. So does my family, with both Newcastle and the Central Coast being a home for us.
“We are just over the moon and now I can’t wait to get out on McDonald Jones Stadium in front of big crowds again.”