The North Queensland Cowboys have promoted young gun Tom Chester to their top 30 for the 2023 and 2024 seasons on a two-year deal.
The half, who has turned himself into a fullback while part of the Cowboys' junior development program over the last two seasons, has impressed the Cowboys' development, recruitment and coaching staff enormously during his time with the junior grades.
He also spent most of the most recent summer training with the Cowboys NRL squad as part of his move onto a development deal for the 2022 season.
It's a deal which may allow him to debut later this season.
The 20-year-old is a local junior and played for the Townsville Blackhawks in the Hastings Deering Colts competition last year, scoring a double in the grand final which Townsville ultimately lost to the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Intriguingly, he spent some time at lock during that competition, speaking to his excellent flexibility.
He began the new season with the Blackhawks in the QLD Cup, playing off the bench in Round 1, before starting at fullback in Round 2 and 3.
Cowboys recruitment manager Dane Campbell said Chester has earnt the right to join the top 30.
“Tommy has earnt the right to join our Top 30,” Campbell said.
“He has come through our Young Guns program and has been incredible with his attitude and commitment to training. He earnt the respect of Todd and his coaching staff in the pre-season and also played well in the trial in Cairns, which gave us the confidence he was ready to graduate to the NRL squad.
“We believe fullback is Tommy’s best position, but he does have the versatility to play in the halves, hooker and potentially even lock.”