Liam Byrne signs new four-year deal with Wigan Warriors
Liam Byrne has pledged his future to Wigan.
The 20-year-old prop has signed a new four year deal which runs until the end of 2023.
Byrne, an academy-product who hails from Salford, debuted for Adrian Lam's side last year and went on to make 14 appearances.
“I’m very happy to sign a new-deal with Wigan," he said. "Ever since I’ve been at the club I’ve improved as a player and I’m lucky to have so many great coaches and senior players around me to help me develop my game.
"I know that the hard work is ahead of me but I’m excited by the challenge.”
Other homegrown forwards Ollie Partington and Morgan Smithies also signed long deals last year.
Coach Lam said: He’s an imposing young man, tough and has an extremely impressive work-ethic which we believe will put him in good stead for the years ahead. He still has plenty to work on - he is by no means the finished article - but he’s in a great place to kick-on and we’re delighted to see him put pen to paper on this new deal.”
Byrne is set to be in the squad to face Warrington on Thursday after impressing in the pre-season game against Leeds.
And he admits he went into that friendly with the mindset that it was an audition for the opening day squad.
"We've so many middles, we've so much competition so I know I have to prove myself in these early games to cement a place," he said.
"Last year there wasn't as much competition, and it's healthy, it makes you better - iron sharpens iron."
Byrne may only be 20 but he has already caught the eye with his physical presence and aggression.
"It's the way I like to play, full-on," he said.
Byrne returned to pre-season a little later than many of his team-mates after representing Ireland in World Cup qualifying matches.
He faced Spain in Valencia and Italy in Dublin.
"My dad was born here but he moved straight back to Belfast, and all his family are Irish, so I'm proud to represent them," he said.
It meant a lot to put the jersey on. Ireland Rugby league doesn't have a lot of money put into it so we're trying to stick together and get something going."