Warrington Wolves utility player Stefan Ratchford has fended off interest from Australian clubs by agreeing a new and improved contract that will keep him at the First Utility Super League club until November 2018.

The 26-year-old has made 86 appearances since joining the Wolves from Salford Red Devils three years ago and was named in England’s 34-strong squad for a mid-season get-together.Ratchford

Warrington’s head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said: “To tie Stefan down for this length of time is fantastic news for the club.

“There’s no doubt a player of Stefan’s quality was getting attention from the NRL. His versatility is invaluable and in whichever position he is selected, he plays with a smile and does an outstanding job.

“He is a genuine match-winner and can do special things. I’m delighted he’ll be continuing to do this in Warrington colours for many years.”

Ratchford, who was a member of the Wolves’ Challenge Cup-winning team in his first season with the club in 2012, said: “I’m really enjoying my time at Warrington and playing in Super League.

“We have an exciting squad here at the Wolves and I can only see it getting better with the new signings joining us for next season.

“We have a bit of unfinished business with the Grand Final and I’d love to win more with this group of lads. There are quite a few of us with long-term deals and it’s great that we will all be together for the next few years.”

Ratchford, who has started matches at centre, stand-off and loose forward recently, is expected to revert to full-back for Thursday’s preliminary semi-final at Castleford Tigers following the loss of Matty Russell with facial injuries sustained in last Saturday’s 22-19 win over Widnes Vikings.