IT’S a double celebration for Vikings’ Dec Hulme who this week signed a 12 month contract extension as well as receiving news of his degree qualification.

St Helens-born Dec received news from Edge Hill University, where he has been studying Sport and Exercise Science, that he will graduate with a 2:1 this Summer, and on top of that a new deal with the Vikings - it’s a week to remember for the 21-year-old.

“It’s been a great few days for me with the two pieces of news,” the former Burtonwood Bulldogs and Bold Miners centre said.

“All the hard work has paid off both off and on the pitch. Studying for my BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and my training with the First Team has been tough but it’s all worth it.

“If I’m honest, completing my studies is a weight off my shoulders. Coming home from training and then doing my work all night was hectic but that’s what you have to do to get your studies behind you and I know how important that is. The Club have been fully supportive of that too and that stems from my time in the Youth setup. It’s all done now and I can concentrate solely on my rugby.”

Hulme signed for the Vikings as a 17-year-old and he’s worked his way to First Team level. He has scored four tries in four Super League appearances this year and is predicting a big year next season where he hopes to make a real impression on Head Coach Denis Betts.

“To be here for 12 months in a full-time environment has really improved me as a player,” Hulme added.

“ I think experience in the Championship at Workington and North Wales has helped me be the player I am today as well. I’m looking to build on the starts I’ve had this year and really kick on next season, as well as finishing the season strongly, if Denis calls on me.

“I’m new to the professional system, with me only having one year as a professional player under my belt, but my aim is to establish a position in the team going forward. I know what my role is here and whether I come in to deputise for an injured player or whatever, it’s just about getting the foot in the door and seizing my opportunity when it comes.”

Betts was quick to sign up his young star and he’s keen for Hulme to keep developing in the Vikings’ system.

“Dec’s a young player who is really developing in this environment,” Betts said.

“I think he’s got a great future in the game with this Rugby League Club. He works hard in training, is committed and he enjoys behind here. He has so much potential and I, and the coaches here, are looking at developing that and making him the best player he can be.

“His time at Workington and North Wales had been really productive for him and he’s clearly enjoying being here in and around the culture we’ve created.”