Widnes Vikings have secured the services of youngster Declan Hulme with a 12-month contract extension.
The 21-year-old centre has enjoyed a successful week, achieving a 2:1 in his Sport and Exercise Science degree before being handed a fresh contract with the Super League club.
Hulme, who signed for the Vikings as a 17-year-old, has broken into the first-team this year, scoring four tries in four appearances.
“It’s been a great few days for me with the two pieces of news,” he told the club’s official website. “All the hard work has paid off both off and on the pitch.
“If I’m honest, completing my studies is a weight off my shoulders. Coming home from training and then doing my work all night was hectic but that’s what you have to do to get your studies behind you and I know how important that is.
“The club have been fully supportive of that too and that stems from my time in the youth set-up. It’s all done now and I can concentrate solely on my rugby.”
Head coach Denis Betts has been impressed with Hulme’s dedication and hopes to continue his progress at Widnes.
“Dec’s a young player who is really developing in this environment,” Betts said. “I think he’s got a great future in the game with this rugby league club.
"He works hard in training, is committed and he enjoys behind here. He has so much potential and I, and the coaches here, are looking at developing that and making him the best player he can be.
“His time at Workington and North Wales had been really productive for him and he’s clearly enjoying being here in and around the culture we’ve created.”