Joel Hodgson pens new three-year Newcastle Falcons deal
Newcastle Falcons half-back Joel Hodgson has signed a new three-year deal at Kingston Park.
The 18-year-old progressed through the club's academy ranks to make his debut for Alan Tait's first-team against Bourgoin in October.
"The idea behind it is to develop and get as much first-team experience as I can," Hodgson told BBC Newcastle.
"Hopefully I'll be here for longer but it's three years to start with and we'll see how we go."
All five of Hodgson's first XV outings this season have come in the Amlin Challenge Cup, and the former Royal Grammar School pupil sees the competition as an ideal environment for his development.
"A realistic target for myself is to push on into the first team in the European games, like I have done this season," Hodgson added.
"I can really focus on those games to start with, and if I do pick up any further appearances that would be great."
Ahead of Hodgson in the queue for a starting berth are first-choice fly-half Jimmy Gopperth, as well as utility back Jeremy Manning.
"[To be understudy to Gopperth] would be a very nice position to be in and something I would like to aim for.
"Jeremy is seen as a 15, but he's a quality 10, I've got a long way to go to knock him off second seed.
"I've got to gain a lot of experience, I've got to learn a lot before I get there, so maybe the middle of next season is a bit early.
"But it is a target and if I can get to it, great, if not I'll just keep on trying."