Manly coach Anthony Seibold says it's a matter of time before Haumole Olakau'atu makes his State of Origin debut after the forward penned a deal with the club until the end of 2031.
Barring Gold Coast's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, who signed a 10-year deal earlier in 2023, Olakau'atu is now the owner of the longest contract in the NRL.
The wrecking ball back-rower was already contracted for 2024 and 2025, but the Sea Eagles have moved to prevent him going to the open market with the likes of Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra linked with his services.
The 25-year-old will now likely see out his NRL career with Manly after committing to a further six years.
"We feel that Haumole's best years are ahead of him and that he can develop into an elite player who can play at State of Origin level for the NSW Blues," said Seibold.
"He has already played at Test level for Tonga but he is at that part of his career now where he can play State of Origin.
"If he plays State of Origin, it means he is playing consistently. That's his narrow focus, being consistent at Manly.
"Haumole is a high-quality player and we love having him.
"The club has invested in his long-term career and we want Haumole to be a one-club player."
Olakau'atu has 29 tries in 73 games for the Sea Eagles and has built a reputation on his bullocking runs and ability to offload out of contact
The bumper upgrade, which is reportedly worth close to $7 million over eight years, will take up a significant chunk in Manly's salary cap when they are spending big on several other key players.
Jake and Tom Trbojevic and skipper Daly Cherry-Evans are Manly's three biggest earners while Fellow back-rower Josh Schuster is on a pay packet worth north of $800,000.
Australian Associated Press