Castleford Tigers forward Frankie Mariano has signed a two-year contract extension.
The versatile second-row joined Tigers ahead of the current First Utility Super League season from Sunday’s Magic Weekend opponents Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and his new deal will see him remain at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle until the end of 2016.
Mariano, 27, is ever-present for Tigers this term, scoring three tries.
He said:“I feel really comfortable. I’ve never felt as comfortable as I do now in this team which is a big factor and it’s showing in my game.
“I wanted to play in every game, but it’s not something I expected with being in a brand new side and having to work my way in.
“Obviously I’ve done something right for [coach] Daryl Powell to keep playing me and this is exactly what I needed and wanted. Hopefully I can carry on, keep progressing and keep getting better.
“I feel I have improved every week as I get a better understanding of the team and how we’re playing. We’ve had a few lapses, but we know where we have gone wrong which is the main thing.
“The team has gelled since day one of training and my style of playing fits with everybody else’s and we’re working well as a team. I feel like I’m progressing week in, week out, but I know that I’ve got a lot more to come.”
With his future secured, Mariano is looking forward to continuing his good form and help guide the young talent coming through the ranks.
“My ultimate target is to be a regular in a great team at a great club with great fans and I think I’ve got that here,” he added.
“We’ve started the season well and we’re hoping to finish it even better. Over the next couple of years I’d like to take more of a leadership role as I’m obviously not one of the younger ones in the squad, so I need to start showing my experience and try and look after some of the younger lads coming through.”
Powell said: “It is great news for the club that Frankie has signed a new contract for the next two years.
“He has continued to improve throughout the year and has lots of room to develop his game even further.
“He is a big athlete with potential to play in three positions, which makes him a valuable member of our squad.”