PAUL Vaughan has been rewarded for his strong start to the season, with St George Illawarra extending his stay at the club until the end of 2021.
The front-rower has been outstanding over the first 10 rounds of the season, propelling himself into the thick of Origin selection talk as one of the Dragons' best performers.
Vaughan was already contracted at the club until the end of 2019 after being signed from the Raiders on a three-year deal reported to be worth $1.75 million.
When that contract was first signed it raised eyebrows given Vaughan had slipped well back in Canberra's pecking order of forwards, spending most of 2016 in reserve grade.
However, the 26-year-old has proven to be one of the buys of the season, averaging 141 run metres per season - a key reason for the Dragons' unexpected early season rise to the top of the ladder. They currently sit fifth.
In a statement announcing his re-signing, Vaughan said the move to the Red V had done wonders for his confidence.
"At the start of the season I wanted to start afresh and prove myself all over again. That was one of the biggest things I needed to do," Vaughan said.
"I think I'm halfway to doing that - I just need to keep playing consistent football.
"I've always said I wanted to stay here for as long as I can so with this deal I won't be off-contract again until I'm in my 30s."
Dragons director of rugby league pathways Ian Millward said Vaughan's extension was crucial for future success.
"We've identified him as a future leader and we've also been impressed by the way he's integrated and interacted with the younger forwards," Millward said.
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