Clubs like Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR and St Helens have all made moves to secure their current stars whilst a lot of attention has been placed on bringing in the stars of next year.
Leeds have well and truly prioritised tying down their big stars giving new deals to Ash Handley, Jarrod O’Connor, Sam Lisone, Nene MacDonald and Justin Sangare.
Wigan meanwhile recently gave a new deal to Brad O’Neill as he and former Leeds and Huddersfield Giants star Kruise Leeming look set to form a great partnership.
Warrington fended off NRL interest in George Williams with a new deal whilst St Helens have given new contracts to James Bell, Curtis Sironen and Konrad Hurrell.
Hull KR have done a lot of exciting transfer business but they have also had a brilliant approach to contracts too giving new deals to Ryan Hall, George King and Jordan Abdull.
They have now given a new deal to James Batchelor. The club have confirmed that he has signed a two year extension keeping him at the club till 2026.
It is somewhat surprising given he was already tied down till 2024.
The brother of England international and Super League Champion Joe, James is just as good and has shown that this year at Craven Park after leaving Wakefield Trinity to join the club.
His debut against Wigan Warriors was especially noteworthy and his performances since have been excellent.
Before a ball was kicked this year Willie Peters backed him for England and he certainly deserves a chance.
He has recently returned from a worrying neck injury that saw him stretchered off against Salford Red Devils at the Magic Weekend.
He is now set to feature against Wigan in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Wigan.
The English back rower was one of the in-form players before his injury in the Salford defeat at Magic weekend, scoring 5 times in 14 appearances. But, having returned in the win over Leeds last Friday, Batchelor carried on where he left off, making 126 metres.
James spoke of how positive it was in signing a new long-term deal with the Robins:
“It was pretty easy. Once the club approached me and said they wanted to extend my contract, I definitely wanted to speak to them about it, and then things got done quickly.
It feels really good to be part of the club, and to know the club want me to be part of it long term, it’s a real positive.”
Head coach, Willie Peters discussed his delight in securing Batchelor down long term:
“There’s no doubt he (Batchelor) would have had other teams chasing him and his signature for the next few years.
As a player, we talk about the Hull KR way, and Batch lives that every day. They’re the players we want to have at the club long term, so I’m pleased and happy for Batch, but also happy for the club as well to be able to secure his future.”