Hull FC have confirmed that young trio Nick Staveley, Will Gardiner and Zach Jebson have signed contract extensions to remain with the Black & Whites beyond 2023.
Having invested heavily in the youth programme over the few years, it is another step in the right direction for Hull FC, with Staveley and Gardiner signing two-year extensions, whilst Jebson has penned a one-year deal, with the club reserving the option to extend by a further year.
All three have represented Hull FC’s Academy or Reserves outfits over the last two seasons, with both Staveley and Gardiner gaining valuable first-team experience under Tony Smith’s stewardship.
21-year-old Gardiner, who was scouted playing local amateur rugby for West Hull within the last couple of years, was the first to make his senior berth, when he debuted in the closing stages of the 2022 Betfred Super League campaign in a match against Salford Red Devils.
The towering forward has made intermittent appearances for Hull’s first-team this year, whilst his game time has been boosted by a handful of appearances for the Reserves, scoring two tries for the side coached by Head of Emerging Talent Michael Shenton.
More recently, Staveley made his Hull FC debut in Sunday’s 32-8 Challenge Cup Round Six victory over Castleford Tigers in West Yorkshire, having spent the early part of the 2023 season on dual-registration with Championship outfit Newcastle Thunder.
Although yet to make his senior debut, there is plenty of promise around powerful second-row Jebson, the third Hull youngster to sign on the dotted line this week.
Another graduate of FC’s fruitful Academy programme, Jebson has trained with the first-team squad throughout 2023 so far, gaining match time by playing for the Reserves, scoring three tries in five appearances.
Hull FC Head Coach Tony Smith said: “Will is really professional for a young man. He’s got a lot of work to do to get up to the Super League standard, but he’s shown the right attitude for it. He’s got a hunger for it now he’s had a taste of Super League. His best years are yet to come and we’re really happy that he’ll be staying with us to continue his development.
“Nick has improved a lot throughout the season, both in terms of his attitude and his fitness levels. When I arrived at the club, he was way behind in terms of his fitness. But he’s knuckled down and got his fitness levels in great shape and that’s been great to see. He’s another of these young players who’s been a pleasure to work with, so we’re all delighted that he has signed his contract extension, and it was nice to give Nick some game time in the Challenge Cup at the weekend.
“How long it will take, I’m not sure, but Zach Jebson is definitely one for the future. Knowing the kid like I do, we might not be waiting all that long. He’s so inquisitive about his role, asking questions about his job all of the time and he’s a terrific athlete on top of all of that. Zach is an absolute pleasure to coach – he’s got great ambition and a great attitude, so he deserves his opportunity to stay with us longer.”