Sharks forward Toby Rudolf has put to bed speculation about his immediate playing future by signing a contract extension with the Cronulla club.
The re-signing of Rudolf, who joined the Sharks in 2019 however missed most of the season while rehabilitating a knee injury, returned to play a leading role in the success of the Newtown Jets in the Canterbury Cup late last year and has then gone on to enjoy a breakout rookie season in the NRL in 2020, provides a major boost ahead of the run home to the finals.
Debuting in round one, the 24-year-old Rudolf has since cemented a place in the club’s top 17 and looks forward to a strong finish to the 2020 season, before continuing his NRL journey with the Sharks into 2021.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my rookie season as a Shark, I’m enjoying my time here and with this contract extension I’m looking to build on what I’ve achieved so far this year,” Rudolf said.
“We have a very strong playing group which I’m pleased to be a part of, and I’m keen to finish this year on a high note, to take my form into next season and to hopefully continue my improvement and development under John Morris and the coaching staff here at the Sharks.”
With family and remaining in Sydney foremost in his decision to re-sign with the Sharks, Rudolf rejected an offer from a rival NRL club to remain in the Shire, with Morris thrilled to have the services of the outstanding young forward for the 2021 season.
“Toby’s signing is amazing news for the club and no doubt will be very well received by our members and fans,” Morris said.
“It was always a priority of mine to retain Toby and he has shown with his impressive performances in his first year in the NRL how valuable a player he is.
“Toby has not only shone with his performances on the field but he is of outstanding character off it, a great team player who works very hard on his game and is very coachable. His re-signing, along with the other youth we have extended and re-signed this year is an example of the exciting future we are continuing to build at the club,” he added.
A Souths junior, Rudolf progressed through the Rabbitohs system, to playing for their NSW Cup feeder club the North Sydney Bears, before heading to the Queensland Cup and the Redcliffe Dolphins in 2018.
A member of the Dolphins side to win the QRL’s Intrust Super Cup, Ruldolf was recognised for his talent and potential and recruited to the Sharks, only to suffer an ACL tear in the State Championship Playoff on NRL Grand Final day.
After a difficult year rehabilitating his knee for much of 2019, Rudolf has since made his mark in the NRL, with his hard running, dependable defense and the boundless energy features of his game.
Following his first appearance in the NRL back in March when the Sharks took on his junior club the Rabbitohs, Rudolf has played in every game of the 2020 season, with the round 11 match against the Dragons arguably the highlight, the front row-lock forward running for 244 metres while also making 27 tackles in his teams win.
Rudolf has been named in jersey 13 for the Sharks vital clash with the Knights on Friday night.
This latest re-singing continues the Club’s efforts to secure their young talent for 2021 and beyond, with Rudolf joining the likes of Ronaldo Mulitalo, Will Kennedy, Teig Wilton, Royce Hunt and Siosifa Talakai as those to recently signs new deals in committing their immediate playing futures to the Sharks.
TOBY RUDOLF Fact File
DOB – January 29, 1996 – Sydney
Junior Club – South Eastern Seagulls
Position – Prop/lock
Height – 190cm
Weight – 107kgs
NRL Debut – Sharks v Souths, ANZ Stadium, Round 1, 2020
NRL games - 16