Hodge remains a Rebel
NEWS: Rising star Reece Hodge has re-committed to Australia and the Melbourne Rebels, signing through until the end of 2020.
The 22-year old enjoyed a dream year in 2016 after bursting onto the professional scene, making his debut for both the Melbourne Rebels and the Wallabies.
The versatile back now becomes the first Wallaby to re-sign beyond the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
"With such a young and talented squad, the potential to be a part of some long-term success with the Rebels, who gave me my first opportunity at professional rugby, is pretty exciting."
Hodge said his goal of representing the Wallabies at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan was a motivation to remain in Australia.
"Being a part of the 2016 Wallabies squad with so many new faces felt like the start of our journey towards 2019 and it's something that I really want to be a part of going forward," Hodge said.
"I know it will take a lot of hard work and consistent form to get there but just to have the opportunity to be playing rugby in Australia and striving towards that goal of playing for the Wallabies at the 2019 World Cup in Japan is awesome."
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika: "Reece took his opportunity in 2016, showing he's got what it takes firstly in Super Rugby then at the Test level.
"There's plenty of great young talent in Australia and Reece is a great example of what can happen when you take your chance.
"It's great to see young lads committing to long-term deals and I know Reece is very excited about the years ahead for both Melbourne and the Wallabies," Cheika added.
Hodge started nine of his 10 Tests in 2016, notching up two tries as well as two monster penalty kicks from his renowned booming right boot.
After representing the North Harbour Rays in the 2015 National Rugby Championship, the former Manly Marlin moved to Melbourne and stunned the Rebels faithful in his debut season, taking home the Super Rugby Rookie of the Year at the 2016 John Eales Medal awards night.
"We have huge faith in Reece and see him as an important part of the club's future so we're thrilled that he's agreed to call Melbourne home until 2020," Melbourne Rebels General Manager Rugby Baden Stephenson said.
"Reece had a remarkable debut professional season in 2016, which is a testament to his talents and character, so we look forward to his continued significant contribution to the club and Rebels program."
The Rebels will kick off the 2017 Super Rugby season against the Blues in Melbourne next Thursday, February 23.