BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Tom Dearden passes the ball during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session at Red Hill on April 30, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Last year, 18-year-old Tom Dearden was chased by six different clubs before ending up at the Broncos, and is set to make his debut during their Round 8 blockbuster with South Sydney.

The Mackay junior is set to become the Broncos' youngest starting halfback at 18 years and 50 days old as they search for their first win on the road.

A talented junior, Dearden was born in Toowoomba before he began carving out his career in the under-6's through to the under-15's for the Brothers Bulldogs in Mackay.

His life soon consisted of nothing but learning and loving the game, he idolised league legend Johnathan Thurston, and as a junior, he even trialled headgear that was given to him by the Cowboys' icon.

Tom's father Steve told The Courier-Mail about the times his son would spend in front of the television screen observing the game itself.

"He used to watch Friday Night Football when he was about five or six," Steve Dearden said.

"We'd all go to bed and he'd stay up and watch the game.

"He's always been into footy. Ever since he was a young fella, he's always worn that No.7.

"He's been a JT (Thurston) fan for most of his life."

Broncos fought off rival clubs to lock in the youngster's signature, with player-manager Sam Ayoub revealed to The Courier-Mail the extent of bidding war surrounding the blonde-haired halfback.

"Last year, he had half a dozen clubs keen to secure him," Ayoub said.

"Quite a few flew his parents to meet with them and they visited about four or five of the clubs.

"The Titans were definitely keen because he was living on the Gold Coast and there was a lot of merit in considering them because he was living locally.

"The Rooster and Bulldogs were exceptionally keen too."

In the end, the Broncos managed to lock Dearden away on a three-year deal ending in 2021, and will now run out wearing the No.7 jersey on Thursday Night.


  1. Love the way the ex Broncos are propping him up with Wally heading the pack giving him a big endorsement.
    The kid might have a big future bat the fact is that Nikorima has told them to stick it and they dont have anyone else to fill the position.
    Bennett isnt stupid and if this kid at 18 years old has what it takes to be there tonight and shine then will have to overcome a big welcome from Souths to NRL.
    Good luck.

  2. Don’t you just love the way Brisbane Ponies do a souffffffffs and claim this Mackay BOY as a “local junior” πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ Its 11 hrs drive to Mackay from Brisbane and 950kms. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ ahahaha local junior πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£. That’s almost as good as souffffffffffs claiming Codey Walker and Kyle Turner (Coonabarabran), as well as Adam Doueihi (Balmain Juniors) as souffffffs juniors. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

  3. Like I mentioned before, if the halfback that Brisbane donkeys poached off the Roosters in Sean O’Sullivan was any good then he would have been the next in line. But he isn’t, is heπŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ CLOWNS 🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑🀑

  4. Good luck to the kid. This is a huge introduction to first grade coming up against Souths, but what’s going on in Brisbane? Roberts looks to looking to move on, Nikorima is gone and Kahu commented his departure was far from ideal too. I don’t think the exodus is necessarily the work of Seibold, more so the results driven board and people behind the scenes. I think it’ll be an ugly night for the broncos which will compound an already ugly season. The Broncos beat half a first grade Sharks lineup last week so it’s going to be a huge step up defeating Souths tonight without Nikorima too.

  5. I reckon he will have a nightmare debut, Souths will direct their big men at broncos little halves all night. I said Souths by 8, but wont be surprised if they win by 20+.

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