Hull KR have rewarded promising forward George Lawler for an impressive start to the season with a new four-year contract.
The 20-year-old, who was the club’s academy player of the year in 2015, did not sign his first professional contract until last October but he has started all four Super League matches so far as a third-choice hooker in the absence of Shaun Lunt and John Boudebza.
Hull KR head of rugby Jamie Peacock said: “George is a very popular member of the squad, level-headed and eager to learn, so we are delighted that he sees at least the next four years of his career here at Hull Kingston Rovers.
“If this club is to develop and progress to where we want it to be, then it’s vital we bring through more home-grown players and build the team around talented local guys like George.
“He’s shown this season that he has the ability and skill-set to play at hooker but he’s also very effective in the back row. He still has a long way to go and there’s plenty of development left in him, but he trains hard and wants to improve.”
Lawler said: “To sign a new four-year deal is a dream come true and wasn’t something I expected so early in the year.
“I had a good pre-season with the coaching staff and I’ve been pleased with how I’ve started the year. I got an opportunity in the team earlier than I thought I would and I’m learning every week.”
Meanwhile, the Robins will have nine regulars missing when they go in search of their first win of the season at leaders Widnes on Friday.
Half-back Albert Kelly and acting captain Graeme Horne have joined Terry Campese, Josh Mantellato, Kevin Larroyer and James Donaldson on the injury list and James Green has been handed a one-match ban for punching in last Friday’s defeat by St Helens.
Caretaker coach Willie Poching has drafted in half-back Matty Marsh after his recovery from a knee injury and has also named youngsters Kieran Moran and Joe Wardill in his 19-man squad after they were called up to train with the first team from the City of Hull Academy.