Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

The Souths have locked in a key member of their mid-rotation following the extension of Mark Nicholls’ contract until the end of 2023.

It is an interesting development in the Rabbitoherne’s policy of retaining players that offers the 31-year-old a multi-year extension, while he refused to do so earlier in the year for the retired half-back Adam Reynolds.

Reynolds insisted on a deal longer than the one-year period the rabbis were willing to offer, and signed with Brisbane earlier this year.

In the case of Reynolds’ over-30 playmaker, Cody Walker, Bunnies CEO Blake Solly said last week that the club would look to keep him for the rest of his career.

“We will sit down with Cody and map out what he wants,” Solly said.

“The short answer is that we want Cody here as long as he will continue to play.”

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Granted, while Nicholls and Walker are in the same age group as Reynolds, they were both late-seasoners with far fewer games under their belt and far less injury history.

Nicholls jumped around in reserve class with limited opportunities for top flight across several years with both the Canberra Raiders and Melbourne Storm before immediately settling into the Souths.

“I always believed in my ability, I just hadn’t really gotten a crack. From the first day I came here, I felt like I had found a bit of a home,” Nicholls said before last week’s grand finale.

“The last few years have been amazing for me and my family, both in terms of my foot and off the field,” he added Monday.

“I have been married to my beautiful wife Perrie, we had our beautiful daughter Darcie and it is no coincidence that I feel like I have played my best football too.

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“I love this club and everything it does for me and my family. It’s an honor to wear the red and green.”

Nicholls has played 82 first-class games in The Cardinal and the Myrtle since arriving in 2018 and has settled into his role which starts brilliantly.

“He has been fantastic for our club over the last four seasons, he comes from a lovely family and is building his own little family now and he takes care of himself in relation to his career after football, which is also very important here in South Sydney, “said Souths’ football manager Mark Ellison.

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He also won the Bob McCarthy Clubman of the Year award at the club’s end of season award.

“We’re really excited to have Mark stay at the club for at least two more seasons,” Ellison said.

“He embodies everything we’re looking for in our front row mix. He’s a very hard worker, has a low error rate, makes good yards and makes his tackles. He’s one of the most reliable front rowers in the game. “

Nicholls was moved to a starter late in the season, freeing Tom Burgess to play the role of destroying the ball from the bench – it was a staff decision that worked perfectly for Wayne Bennett, allowing both men to thrive as the rabbits enjoyed a sensational second half of the season before missing a match less than a Premier League title.

“I love the group of players and coaches we have, the members are second to none and hopefully I can repay them all by helping us go one step further than we did this year by winning the premiere post,” Nicholls said.

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