Melbourne Storm prop Kirk Reynoldson has today re-signed with the club for a further two years meaning the biggest beard in the NRL will remain with the Storm until the end of the 2005 season.
Since breaking through to first grade from feeder club Brisbane Norths in last year�s round seven clash against the Warriors, Reynoldson has been one of Melbourne�s big improvers.
He went on to play 17 games last year and thanks to his barnstorming style of play � and his Ned Kelly beard � the bullocking Queenslander has taken on cult status throughout the NRL.
Reynoldson admitted he was pleased to have his contract out of the way as the Storm head into their final match of the regular season against Manly next week before taking part in the semi finals the following week.
�I�m very happy to have it (contract) sorted out, it�s good to be 100 per cent focused on football heading into the semi finals,� Reynoldson said.
�I�m really pleased to be staying in Melbourne. Coming from the bush I�m not really a big fan of the city but Melbourne to me is like a big country town and I love the place.
�I always wanted to stay with Melbourne because they have supported me over the past two years and with (coach) Craig (Bellamy) here the club has gone to a new level and it�s got a very big future.�
The 24-year-old�s numbers are indicative of his improvement in the Storm�s pack this year.
So far this season he is averaging over 25 tackles and more than eleven hitups per match to provide the perfect foil for fellow prop Robbie Kearns.
�You wouldn�t be playing football if you didn�t want to improve so being my second year in the competition this season and with a lot of younger guys in the team, I wanted to develop my game and I think that has happened to some extent,� Reynoldson added.
This week�s bye could not have come at a better time for Melbourne with the club using the break to rest several players before taking on the Sea Eagles next Saturday night at Olympic Park.
�I�m trying not to think too much about the semis just yet, I know we�re there but we have to get our game right for Manly first so we can go into the finals confident,� Reynoldson explained.
�At the moment it feels like it�s been good to have a break this week but I�ll tell you how good it�s been after the Manly game next week.�
So far this year Melbourne has successfully re-signed Robbie Kearns, Scott Hill, Matt Geyer, Steven Bell, Peter Robinson, Glen Turner and now Reynoldson.