Experienced Sharks forward Matt Prior has signed a new two-year contract with the Cronulla club.

Prior, who joined the Sharks at the start of the 2014 season, became an integral member of Coach Shane Flanagan’s forward pack during 2015, playing a significant role in helping the team win their way through to week two of the NRL Finals.

Understandably excited to have his future confirmed for at least the next two years, Prior was more than happy to have committed to the Sharks for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

“I’m really pleased to have signed this new deal and to be staying at the Sharks for the next two seasons,” Prior said. “I’ve enjoyed my time here so far and with the team we have and the potential this squad has to do some good things over the next couple of years its exciting for me that I will be a part of it.”

Joining the Sharks after playing in excess of 100 NRL games for the St George Illawarra Dragons, Prior battled through an injury plagued season in 2014, playing just 10 top grade games, before finding his feet in 2015 as he cemented a permanent place in the Sharks side during their march into the finals series.

A niggling leg injury kept him out of the Sharks finals matches against Souths and North Queensland, but as Flanagan explains, Prior had become an extremely reliable contributor this year and will again be a valuable member of his squad in 2016.

“Matty did an outstanding job for us this year and it’s great we will have him on deck again in 2016,” Flanagan began. “He is one of those players who doesn’t necessarily attract the headlines, but he is important to the team and carries out his role consistently well.

“Matt is the type of player every club needs and I’m more than happy he has re-signed with us.”

From the Thirroul Butchers junior club near Wollongong, Prior made his NRL debut back in 2008 and in eight seasons in the NRL has played 142 top grade matches, 32 of those NRL games coming while at the Sharks over the last two years.

In 2015 he showed his durability by running out for 22 matches over the course of the season.

Prior’s signing is another piece in the Sharks recruitment puzzle, with teammates Sam Tagataese and Chris Heighington also announcing in recent weeks that they too will be remaining at the club next year.

The experienced trio will join new recruits Chad Townsend and James Maloney, established stars Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham and Michael Ennis, along with young guns Valentine Holmes and Jack Bird, in Cronulla colours in 2016.