Penrith have re-signed halfback Nathan Cleary on a long-term deal that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2024 NRL season.
The move ensures the Panthers wrap up their star playmaker before the Wests Tigers and any other rivals can approach him at the start of November.
"There was always going to be speculation but in the end it was an easy decision for me to make ... I want to become a leader here at the Panthers and I'm determined to help deliver a premiership to Penrith," Cleary said.
He said his decision to sign a five-year contract extension had nothing to do with his father Ivan, who is contracted as Wests Tigers coach until the end of 2020 and has expressed a desire to work with his son.
Penrith axed coach Anthony Griffin in the second half of the season and he was replaced on an interim basis by his assistant Cameron Ciraldo, who steered the Panthers into the finals.
"I was happy to make the decision by myself, what happens in the future with dad is out of my control," Cleary said.
"I don't think I ever thought I was going to leave, even with what was going on.
"I always thought I would stay and it would all work itself out eventually and it did.
"This is a real happy place to be in at the moment."
Australian Associated Press