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Whare shocked by Panthers' five-year deal

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/04/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Penrith centre Dean Whare revealed he had been sought by at least two other NRL clubs too. © Getty Images Dean Whare revealed he had been sought by at least two other NRL clubs too. Dean Whare admits he was shocked to have been offered a five-year deal by the club and couldn't move quick enough to accept it.

Whare revealed he had been sought by at least two NRL clubs prior to announcing a contract extension last Friday, but none showed as much interest as the Panthers.

"I had a few offers, but Penrith was my number one and I wanted to stay here," Whare told AAP.

"Where the team's heading with all the younger guys coming up. I wanted to stay, but it was up to (Phil Gould) and the management, to see what they can do.

"I was very shocked. They offered me such a long contract and it was too hard to not say yes."

There was early speculation Whare would return to former club Manly, however he was recently linked to a reunion under old coach Ivan Cleary at the Wests Tigers.

But Whare insisted he hadn't even considered a move to Concord.

"I re-signed before they signed him up. There was no contact at all with Ivan. As soon as 'Gus' spoke to me about staying, I knew it was going to be a great opportunity for me."

The five-year deal is a big reward for Whare, who hasn't missed a game since returning from a knee reconstruction in round one that limited him to just one appearance last year.

He is the only player at Penrith signed past 2021.

Now he has set his sights on a recall to the New Zealand team in a World Cup year, having played the last of his 15 Tests for the Kiwis in November, 2015.

Warriors centre Solomone Kata and Shaun Kenny-Dowall started for Kiwis in the Four Nations final last year, however are under pressure to retain their spot for the upcoming mid-year Test.

New Zealand face Australia in Canberra on May 5.

"My first goal was to play first grade this year and hopefully sign up a contract. Now it's trying to make the international team," Whare said.

"There's a lot of good players out there, and missing out on the Four Nations last year, I was very gutted. I definitely want to get back into the black jersey again."

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